Being on The Catholic University of America’s campus this week, it has been hard to ignore the March for Life which has caused thousands of anti-abortion supporters to travel to DC and descend upon the Basilica and the CUA campus. This annual March protests the Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade to legalize abortion in America. There are several states in which prior to having an abortion it is necessary to conduct an ultrasound. Many people are outraged by this policy while others are pleased that this step is a part of the abortive procedure. Not ever state that requires the ultrasound requires the woman to look at the sonogram while others do require that it is shown to the woman. The Guttmacher Institute states that “the requirements appear to be a veiled attempt to personify the fetus and dissuade a woman from obtaining an abortion.” This raises the question as to how the ultrasound affects the views of the parent(s) on their unborn child.
The Ultrasound and the Family
The possibility and opportunity to view the fetus during pregnancy has an effect on the bonding between the parents and their unborn child. Studies have shown that routine sonograms affect the maternal bonding with their child and allow the mother to recognize the child and even has an effect on the mother’s behavior regarding her own health. In a 2005 article from Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol titled “Effects of ultrasound on maternal-fetal bonding: a comparison of two- and three-dimensional imaging,” the effects on the maternal bonding with the fetus are evident. Prior to the ultrasound, many women were not able to generate an image of their child in their head. After viewing the sonogram, however, they were able to do so. Over 80% of the women felt as though seeing their child during the ultrasound or seeing the image created a stronger bond between them and the child.
The Future of Ultrasounds
Ultrasounds have become a regular part of prenatal care and preparation. Widely used, the technology surrounding them continues to advance to allow for new possibilities. 3D and 4D ultrasounds are becoming increasingly more available. These ultrasounds allow for a more realistic and fuller view of the fetus in the womb.
This video explains the differences between 2D, 3D, and 4D ultrasounds.
So what is the future of ultrasounds? 3D Babies, a small company that is still in the start up phase, believes that 3D figurines are the next step in the world of sonograms. On their website they state: At 3D Babies, we create an adorable baby figurine resembling your baby’s facial features and body position. We use your 3D/4D ultrasound images or newborn baby pictures to create a unique artistic representation of your baby using the latest computer graphics and 3D printing technology. This is a great way to share the excitement of your new baby with family and friends. Your 3D Baby will be a treasured family remembrance of your pregnancy and new baby.
The study conducted in Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol noted the differences between the results of 2D and 3D ultrasounds and maternal-fetus bonding. Seventy percent of the 3DUS mothers compared to 56% of the 2DUS mothers felt that they already ‘knew’ their baby immediately after the baby was born because of the ultrasound. With the increase of technology and availability of more advanced ultrasound technology, it would appear that as ultrasounds become more realistic, the maternal-fetus bonding becomes stronger. As time goes on and technology continues to increase, it would seem that ultrasounds will allow some mothers to create a stronger bond with their unborn children while they are still in the womb.
State Requirements for Ultrasound: https://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_RFU.pdf