Ultrasound and Autism

September 9, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

Two recent studies of autism and obstetrical ultrasound have created a stir in the media.  In my practice, we are already getting lots of questions!

I have provided several resources for you to help answer patient questions (attached):

  1. An insightful review of the studies by Dr. Andy Coombs, a Maternal Fetal Medicine colleague of mine
  2. ACOG’s patient education “Frequently asked questions” sheet about ultrasound in pregnancy
  3. The recent articles being referenced in the press: Article 1Article 2

In summary, there is no credible evidence that first trimester ultrasound causes autism spectrum disorder.   Ultrasound in the first trimester should continue to be used when medically indicated. American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) has on-line guidelines available for everyone outlining safe thermal index guidelines & more:  www.aium.org/resources/guidelines/obstetric.pdf

Another useful site regarding Dopplers is:  http://www.aium.org/officialStatements/42

I hope this is helpful.  Please let me know if there is anything else WSOA can do for you.

Hope to see you all at our annual meeting in Seattle, December 2 – 3, 2016!


Carolyn R Kline, MD MPH
Washington State Obstetrical Association President
Perinatologist, Eastside Maternal Fetal Medicine