Key Point: Absence of thermal effect translates to no measurable risk.

Intrauterine Effects of Ultrasound: Animal Studies


Jensh RP, Brent RL. Teratology. 1999 Apr; 59(4):240-51.


During the past several decades, the use of ultrasound technology in the clinical setting has greatly increased. Because nearly every pregnant woman receives at least one sonographic procedure today, there has been developing concern about the safety of such procedures. Since ultrasound exposure can result in hyperthermia and other physiological effects, the determination of a threshold or no-effect exposure has become a high-priority goal. Animal research has been important to the study of the effects of various exposures at all stages of pregnancy, since the clinical use of ultrasonography can occur during the preimplantation, organogenic, and fetal stages. Animal experiments using various mammalian species have been able to determine no-effect exposure levels for embryonic loss, congenital malformations and neurobehavioral effects. The preponderance of evidence from these studies indicates that, in the absence of a thermal effect, ultrasonography represents no measurable risk when used at recommended intensity levels.