The complexity of fetal imaging: reconciling clinical care with patient entertainment

Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Dec;112(6):1351-1354. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e31818f0c0c.


Currently in the United States, pregnant women may obtain both medical fetal ultrasonography for screening and commercial fetal ultrasonography for entertainment purposes. The proliferation of commercial fetal ultrasonography suggests that medical screening alone does not satisfy patient expectations regarding fetal imaging. We investigated the prevalence of nonmedical fetal imaging and patient experiences and perceptions with both medical and nonmedical ultrasonography in our metropolitan area. We initiate a dialogue to explore the distinctions between medical and nonmedical fetal ultrasound imaging and the role of entertainment imaging in the medical setting. Concerns about safety, false reassurance, and unnecessary anxiety that might be generated by nonmedical ultrasonography should prompt us to examine the expectations of women regarding entertainment imaging, current clinical practice, and the potential for regulation of this commercial industry.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Hobbies*
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Mothers*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Pregnancy
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods*
  • United States
  • Videodisc Recording*