By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – There has been some concern that prenatal ultrasounds could increase the risk of autism in children but a new study suggests otherwise.

Researchers at Boston Medical Center looked at more than 400 kids born at the hospital and found that the mothers of those with autism had no more prenatal ultrasounds and no greater duration of ultrasound exposure than moms of kids without autism.

In fact, the kids with autism had on average less ultrasound exposure during the 1st and 2nd trimesters than the other children.

The study did raise one question. Does the depth of the ultrasound scan make a difference?

The researchers found that the kids with autism had scans that on average went a little bit deeper than kids without autism, less than a centimeter more, but the authors say there is not enough evidence at this point to conclude that ultrasound depth makes any difference and that more research should be done.

At this point, parents should not be concerned that a prenatal ultrasound is going to put their fetus at risk for autism.

That said, don’t get an ultrasound just for fun like at those keepsake centers where you can pay to get a detailed ultrasound images of your fetus.  Prenatal ultrasounds should be considered a medical procedure and should only be done with the advice of a doctor.

Physical Activity Before School Benefits Children

Doing physical activity before school has big benefits for children.

Researchers at mass general tracked more than 700 elementary and middle school students and found that those who participated in a 12-week physical activity program before school had improved body weight as well as social and emotional wellness.

The program, called Boks Kids, is supported by the Reebok Foundation.  It provides hour-long sessions two to three days a week before school with games, skills, and nutrition discussions during stretching and cool-down.

Getting the kids moving before school is a great way to sneak some physical activity into the day because it’s becoming harder and harder for families to find opportunities to be physically active.

Regular exercise benefits kids in a variety of ways, from reducing the risk of obesity to improved school performance to promoting emotional and social well-being.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

Comments (2)
  1. I have had always this sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach,remembering all the ultrasounds my precious one was subjected (for a bogus raison or $)that feeling of intrusion where we shouldn’t intrude ,let her be ! Now ,she is dealing with autism.iAt that stage of brain development,it doesn’t take much to mess things up.

Leave a Reply