When did ultrasounds in pregnancy become common?

I had my mid-pregnancy ultrasound yesterday. My mom says she didn’t have any ultrasounds when she was pregnant with me (in 1974). When did ultrasounds during pregnancy become a standard and normal thing, not just something that would be done in unusual cases?

Here’s uncited recollection for you - my boss around 1990 had a very young boy, and I remember him telling me that he and his wife opted not to have a routine ultrasound because he wasn’t convinced that they had been demonstrated to be safe.

Based on this anecdote, I’d say by the late 1980s it was routine, but recently so.

I’d say late 70s. A friend of mine was in med school in 1980, and told me one of his professors predicted that ultrasounds in utero would be the “DES of the 90s” when the kids who had them grew up. Thankfully, the prof was wrong. I don wonder how much testing there was on ultrasounds before being approved for use during human pregnancies. Either way, society has 3 decades or so experience with ultrasounds in clinical practice.

My wife gets her ultrasounds at the local hospital, and on the wall they have a framed copy of a newspaper article announcing the newfangled ultrasound machine the hospital just got and explaining how it works. It’s dated from the early 80s.

My youngest daughter was born in 1992. None of the four children had any ultrasounds. And we live in Baltimore, not in the Boonies. I believe they became much more common a few years later, in the mid to late 1990’s. These days several ultrasounds are common.

I did my OB training back in the 83-86 time period, and it was a big debate back then whether to get them routinely. Our OB unit had a portable unit and I got a lot of practice using it, but only ordered it for my own patients if there were questions about dates of conception or other concerns.

My eldest child, born in 1984, never had an ‘official’ ultrasound. Of course, I snuck my wife up to the OB unit and we took a peek one night while I was on call. By my next kid, in 1989, routine U/S had become pretty standard in the urban/suburban midwest.

I agree, my mom only had one ultrasound (11 pregnancies) and that was for the youngest due to maternal age. And that was 1996. I remember my dad being on the phone for hours with the insurance company trying to get them to cover it (and he was an insurance salesman). So I would put “standard” as being mid to late 90s. and “common” not much before that.

My kids, born in metro NJ in 83, 85, 87, all had them routinely. Yes, there were still some who worried about safety, but our doc wasn’t. And of course, the quality of the pictures was nowhere as good as today, but yes, they had 'em.

I had ultrasounds with both (89 and 90). Two for each pregnancy.

My first was born in 1983, I had one with her. My son was born in 1985, I had two with him.

And neither one of those ultrasounds were detailed enough to give gender. However, I remember being mesmerized by the screen and seeing recognizable features. The technician zips the transducer wand so quickly, it’s hard to catch everything, but she did one view where I saw the inside of my daughter’s heart, and I watched the valves opening and closing. And then, of course, when you can feel the baby move and see the movement on the screen, it’s amazing!

My granddaughter was born in 2009. I don’t know how many ultrasounds my daughter had, but she and her husband paid to have the 3-D modeling done, and they played the DVD of that for her baby shower.

She’s pregnant again, another girl, and this kiddo has already racked up the ultrasounds. There is prenatal testing that is done in conjunction with the ultrasound at a certain stage, and some genetic diseases can be predicted.

The CLARITY of the images now is beyond amazing!

But I’d say early 80s is when they started to become routine.

My kids were born in Princeton in 1981 and 1986 and neither had ultrasound. I think that in '86 it was available if there was a suspected problem, but it was not standard.

What’s “DES”?

It’s a drug that was given to women to prevent miscarriages, and ended up not only not doing that but causing cancer in their children later.

diethylstilbestrol, commonly used to prevent miscarriages (turns out it didn’t), found to cause lots of health problems in the kids of moms who took it.

Damn, scooped…

But you didn’t refrain from using the full name because you can’t spell it, like me…

My stepson was born in 1988 and the u/s was a novel, exciting thing. Big city hospital, too.

I had a ultrasound in 1979 while pregnant with my first.It was presented as routine. This was in Fairbanks, AK.

Ah, diethylstillbornitol. Got it.

Early '80s in my experience. My first son was born in 1982 and I had to fib about twins in the family because I was keen to have an ultrasound. Got it but couldn’t see a damned thing.

Son #2 was born in 1984 and I had two routine ultrasounds (~16 weeks and the second about 30 weeks, from memory). The quality of the scan was no better. The sonographer could see the sex but I could barely tell the head from the body.

Our son was born in January 1977 and one was done in the summer or fall of 1976 in Chicago. It was not considered unusual as far as I recall. There was certainly no specific problems it was looking for.