Expectant mothers have been warned about the risks of obtaining souvenir ultrasound photographs and film clips of their unborn child in the womb.
Pregnant women are now able to purchase private pregnancy scans including high-definition, 3D ultrasound images and film clips of their unborn baby which, at anything up to £250, are far superior to those commonly given to parents during routine scans.
Experts advise that, although there is no evidence that ultrasound can harm a developing foetus, it should be used with caution and only by properly trained specialists.
"Our view is that ultrasound should only be used by those qualified to do so, who are in a position to ensure it is carried out safely," Dr Kevin Martin, president of the British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS), told the BBC.
"Ultrasound should not [be] used solely for producing souvenir videos in the first trimester because the baby's cells are still differentiating at that stage," he continued.
"If there's no obvious medical benefit to the baby at that stage, it should not be put at any risk."
However, Professor Stuart Campbell from private clinic Create Health told the British Medical Journal that the extra five minutes required to generate a souvenir scan were "absolutely negligible".
© Adfero Ltd
Harley Street News update: March 2007