Why women want prenatal ultrasound in normal pregnancy

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Feb;27(2):145-50. doi: 10.1002/uog.2646.


Objectives: To investigate women's reasons for requesting prenatal ultrasound in the absence of clinical indications.

Methods: A postal questionnaire was completed by 370 pregnant women with no apparent obstetric risk factors, who had expressed a desire to have ultrasound scanning in their current pregnancy. The women were asked to indicate, from a list of 12 items, their three most important reasons for wanting scanning. Ninety per cent of the women were in the first trimester of pregnancy, and 10% in the second trimester.

Results: The items most frequently identified as important reasons for ultrasound were to check for fetal abnormalities (60% of women), to see that all was normal (55%) and for own reassurance (44%). Lower income was related to wanting to see the baby (P = 0.028) and wanting an ultrasound picture (P = 0.017); higher income was related to checking that all was normal (P = 0.003) and for own reassurance (P = 0.015). Women in their first pregnancy were more likely to want themselves and the father to see the baby (P = 0.001); women who had given birth previously were more likely to want reassurance (P = 0.002), as were women with a previous miscarriage or induced abortion. Women who believed that the presence of fetal trisomy justifies abortion or who would vote for free abortion were more likely to want to know about abnormalities (P < 0.001 and P < 0.004, respectively). Women in the second trimester were more likely to want to check for abnormalities (P = 0.041) and appropriate fetal growth (P = 0.047) than those in the first trimester.

Conclusions: It would appear that women in normal pregnancy have specific reasons for wanting prenatal ultrasound that are influenced by sociodemographic, obstetric and attitudinal factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Parity
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / psychology*