Wednesday, January 9, 2008

MP3 baby ultrasound scans

Well, here's the latest in mobile technology. Portland Hospital in London (the expensive, private hospital where all the rich and famous go to have their babies!) are now offering mothers the opportunity to download their baby's scan video onto a MP3 player.

Another trendy way of hooking women into routine medical interventions that has been shown to have no effect on outcomes for low-risk women!

Image: 'Fulljames Nano (39/365)' Stephen Fulljames
www.flickr.com/photos/52541181@N00/388199657

15 comments:

Leigh Blackall said...

surely its not all about outcomes.. even for a teacher.. I look at this as just an extension of the family photo, and a little way of getting excited about the new member to be..

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks for that, Leigh. Yes, you're right...that's how a lot of people see it and in a way, there's nothing wrong in that.

The problem is:it can be the beginning of unnecessary medical interventions which have then lead to certain outcomes which are less than desirable such as cesarean section. So... a nice family photo versus a major operation? ...that's why I have concerns about outcomes. My view would be (please don't be offended by this) that the family photos can wait until the baby is born. But I know there are a lot of people who would whole heartedly disagree with me.

The other thing to think about is although we are pretty sure that ultrasounds are safe we don't actually know for sure.

Anonymous said...

hi Sarah ...and leigh... great to hear your perspectives on the imaging of babies. I know a lot of people see this as merely a photo shoot and I agree that it does serve that purpose and is really exciting - and i enjoy the way it seems to bring the couple pleasure as they look at their baby together - but as midwives we of course have another appreciation of the journey that comes with this photo. You don't get the photo without the tests and investigations...and the results....which takes you automatically on another journey. Thats not necessarily wrong nor is it the role of the midwife to decide that...but it is something the midwife has to make sure parents in her care are aware of. i think as midwives we are all highly aware of the parent that hops on for the joy ride and then finds themselves somewhere they hadn't appreciated they were going. So for the midwife - it is our responsibility to prepare parents for what this really is or can be(and in doing so - care for them) I think this info can be shared in a very neutral way - personally as the midwife I don't really care what decision the parents arrive at - only that they are aware of the extent/potential of the choice they are making.
That aside - and from a more personal perspective rather than a professional duty - I think Leighs comment that this allows an avenue for excitement and making the pregnancy tacit thought provoking(ok cant remember his exact words - but think I got the sentiment...). I agree it does do that and at face value it seems like a real benefit - but I wonder about building a reliance on this sort of stuff to achieve that excitement or sharing in of a pregnancy? There are alternative and more traditional ways to do that which can build intimacy and an appreciation that the power here is the womans and the male role is to trust her with that and to share in it he has to work at it? In the natural world i think it all happens for a reason and we need to be careful about interruptions to nature. How does that affect the intimacy of couples making babies? I think pregnancy is as much about building parents as it is about building babies. A womens willingness and ability to share the pregnancy her body experiences with her partner and his trust,patience and acceptance that he achieves these pleasures through her - contributes positively to the couple working together to achieve the birthing of the baby, to survive learning to breastfeed and all the other parenting they will do together and I think it has the power to build and evolve strong enough relationships for parenting together. That said - i couldn't resist the photos shoot - and 14 yrs after the birth of our first baby together - we are still all here:)

Sarah Stewart said...

I must admit, after all my self-righteous ranting, that I have my baby's scan photos although they have completely faded by now.

Anonymous said...

we got the video - nobody watches it - boring apparently!

Leigh Blackall said...

Hi Anonymous, Sarah. The impact that technology - especially representational technology like photography, the impact that has an so many areas of our lives and relationships is an important area hey. In so many ways, the horse has already bolted and now we all search for ways to reconnect with our spiritual selves while our metaphysical fantasies seem to overshadow our real existence... it certainly not an issue in midwifery alone, and relates to so many service areas...

When I was a kid, I was shown that movie doco the miracle of life. I'm not sure how it rates these days, but I reckon a combination of its narrative with your own images would be far from boring :)

But imagine the new levels of embarrassment you could achieve in your teenage daughter when you pull out the family album for her friends, and press play on her Miracle of Life :)

Perhaps its one for the lovers only.. :)

Sarah Stewart said...

I certainly agree that 'the horse has bolted' as far as many aspects of childbirth is concerned, especially with normal birth. That is why I find it increasingly frustrating being a midwife - trying to catch up with that damn horse!

As for embarrassing your children with photos - there's always the 'naked baby in the bath' photos -does the trick every time!

Carolyn McIntosh said...

Just catching up with all your many postings in my absence Sarah.
One of the things that occurs to me in relation to scanning is, as Leigh says, parents like scans because they can see the baby and it creates a bond. However it also seems to me that it takes something from the mother. Around the time that the traditional scan in NZ is performed, around 19 -20 weeks, is also the time when the woman first starts to be aware of fetal movements. These gradually increase in strength until, a short time later the woman's partner can also feel the baby move. So the woman has this special, secret bond with her baby which she can then share with others, as she wishes. She builds up a knowledge of her baby. When it is active, when it is quiet. What sounds it reacts to etc. When women have a scan it somehow changes all of this. The baby is suddenly public property everyone can see. Reliance on technology to reassure everyone that the baby is growing and behaving normally is established. There is no research evidence which demonstrate that scans actually improve the outcome for mother or baby. In our world the reality is that most women and their partners will want to have a scan and that is fine, but we should not condemn or try to coerce those who decide this is not for them.

Leigh Blackall said...

nice perspective Carolyn, I like that. Yes, a mother and child's private bond until they are ready to share... and anyway, those scan photos are so cold, so meaningless to the untrained eye, I doubt my original thought possible stands. How could I use that in the family album!? The little bumps on the tummy, the noises, what goes on outside - there's the really moving stuff hey..

Carolyn McIntosh said...

Absolutely Leigh. I think we need to get back to some of our basic intuitive knowledge about pregnancy and birth. With all this technology we seem to have lost some of that.

Leigh Blackall said...

not lost.. appreciated more and perhaps differently. it was in the 50s that technology lost babies wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you carolyn - you have very nicely articulated what I think is so magic and intimate about the mother-baby shared experience. Personally I think there is a world of inner communication that occurs deep within the body - between mother and baby. I think for the woman learning to tune in to that plays a positive role in labouring and birthing. Um but have lost my thought about what role I think scans play in that - maybe just a bit intrusive and distracting - and forming an unhealthy reliance on the outside world and technology.
Rae

Carolyn McIntosh said...

I mean lost intuitive knowledge, not lost babies.

Sarah Stewart said...

Glad you clarified that, Carolyn because I would have said that technology still loses babies, which is one of my points: using technology does not guarantees a perfect outcome. In fact, it can cause outcomes, which if left well alone, would not have happened eg false positives from scans.

Carolyn McIntosh said...

I agree Sarah.