This article examines prenatal ultrasound use in the United States between 1995 and 2006. There is no professional consensus on the appropriate use of ultrasounds during pregnancies considered low-risk, and little is known about national trends of prenatal ultrasound use. The authors analyzed data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 1995-2000, 2005 and 2006. Information from 2001-2004 was not available on prenatal ultrasound use.
Women are receiving more ultrasounds per pregnancy now than in the 1990s, resulting in significant medical costs. Because assessing the medical benefits of multiple ultrasounds is complex, there is no clear consensus as to whether the benefit from increased numbers of ultrasounds outweighs the cost.