FDA wants parents to back off fetus selfies

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The FDA is urging expectant parents to back away from at-home ultrasounds and Doppler heartbeat monitors. HealthDay reports that a recent FDA statement notes that although ultrasounds are safe they are prescription devices that are intended to be used by medical professionals and on an as-needed basis.

Among the regulator's concerns are that ultrasound imagers and heartbeat monitors emit a low level of radiation that affects body tissues, yet a rising numbers of pregnant women are undergoing hour-long ultrasounds so they can have have an in-utero video to show family and friends.

“When the product is purchased over the counter and used without prior consultation with a healthcare professional there is no oversight of how the device is used and little or no medical benefit from the exposure,” the FDA's Robert Phillips said in a statement. Phillips added that the at-home scan also means the number of exposures and duration are also out of a professional's control “raising the potential harm to the fetus.”

DIY monitoring is not new, nor is the concern over its impact. Tom Cruise announced nine years ago that he'd purchased an at-home ultrasound machine to monitor then-fetus Suri's development.

The announcement triggered a cascade of criticism and recent admiration—actress Busy Phillips Tweeted “Ultrasounds are seriously crazy. I totally get why Tom Cruise bought an ultrasound machine...” ten months ago, when pregnant with her second child.

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