Routine ultrasound screening in pregnancy and the children's subsequent handedness

Early Hum Dev. 1998 Jan 9;50(2):233-45. doi: 10.1016/s0378-3782(97)00097-2.


Objective: To study a possible association between ultrasound screening in early pregnancy and altered cerebral dominance measured by the prevalence of non-right handedness among children, particularly boys.

Methods: Follow-up of 8 to 9 year old children to women who participated in a randomised controlled trial on ultrasound screening during pregnancy in 1985-87. The children were followed up through a questionnaire sent to their mothers. The dominant hand of the child was assessed by eleven questions. The dominant foot by one question.

Results: No differences were found in non-right handedness between children in the screening and non-screening group. In separate analyses on ultrasound exposure and non-right handedness among boys a significant difference was found (odds ratio 1.33; 95% confidence interval 1.02-1.74).

Conclusion: This study could not rule out a possible association between non-right handedness among boys and ultrasound exposure in early fetal life. The association was, however, confined to analyses comparing exposed and non-exposed boys and no associations were found when the comparisons were performed according to the randomised groups.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Foot / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / adverse effects*