The safety of your unborn baby is of the utmost importance and is our priority. That is why at Sneak Peek, we follow the Australian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine standards and have developed the following policies:
1. Our non-medical ultrasounds are only offered once your baby is 10 weeks of age
2. You can listen to your baby's heart beat from 12 weeks of age (from 10-12 weeks you can still see your baby's heart beating)
3. We limit scanning to a maximum of 30 minutes per baby per session
We often hear our clients saying that they can get scans at other non-medical scanning centres before 10 weeks and are able to listen to their baby's heart beat before 12 weeks and some scanning sessions last for an hour - so why does Sneak Peek not offer these options?
The reason is because the first 10 weeks of pregnancy is what is called the "embryonic period" where delicate fetal tissues are developing and this period is a very fragile time for your baby and non-medical, elective ultrasound are not recommended.
Secondly, to be able to hear your baby’s heart beat a technology known as Fetal Doppler is needed. The Doppler uses sound waves that can heat baby’s tissue and before 12 weeks of pregnancy, may be harmful to your baby.
At Sneak Peek Ultrasounds we adhere to what is known as the "ALARA" principle which limits exposure of ultrasound to you and your baby to "as low as reasonably achievable". That means we are very strict with the settings on our ultrasound machines and have them set to the lowest possible power whilst sill achieving excellent quality images of your baby.
Why limit the length of time you scan for - we want to see our baby for as long as I can?
The only theoretical risk to a baby during scanning is that of raised temperature. Sound waves can cause a rise in temperature of the tissues they pass through. This rise in temperature is dependent on machine power and scan duration. To monitor this all modern scanners display what is known as a Thermal Index (TI). This index tells the Sonographer about any change in tissue temperature and is displayed continuously on the screen so that the Sonographer scans within the accepted safe Thermal Index range (another reason to have your baby scanned by a trained professional).
Sneak Peek uses the minimum scan time and system settings to achieve the best quality images of your baby for you to treasure for many years to come.
Ultrasound Equipment Disinfection
Many people are unaware that it is possible to get an infection from an unclean, poorly disinfected scanning probe even if its only used on tummy's that have no skin breaks.
Most non-medical centres only use antibacterial wipes. Research has shown when manual disinfection (cleaning by hand) is the only method used that in 7.9% of cases the probe is still be contaminated with "harmful bacteria". These harmful bacteria can then be passed onto the next client without anyone knowing.
So why would a centre not want to protect its customer's and only use a highly sophisticated disinfecting machine? The answer is purely cost as a machine such as these machines can cost in excess of $15k.
At Sneak Peek we take our customer safety seriously and have invested in using an approved state of the art Trophon Machine so that we can feel reassured that you are being scanned with probes that have been treated with a recognised safe, high level disinfection method.
When choosing the right centre can you trust that they adhere to best practice principles and recommendations? For your baby's safety ask them the following questions:
1. What is the maximum amount of time they will scan your baby for?
2. Do they scan pregnancies under 10 weeks?
3. Do they offer to let you hear your baby’s heart beat before 12 weeks?
4. Do they use a high level disinfecting machine to disinfect their probes or just manual wipes?
If they say Yes to these last 2 questions ask yourself, do they really have my baby's safety in mind?