American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

View all recommendations from this society

Released March 14, 2016

Don’t perform prenatal ultrasounds for non-medical purposes, for example, solely to create keepsake videos or photographs.

Prenatal ultrasounds are an integral part of a woman’s prenatal care. While obstetric ultrasound has an excellent safety record, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers keepsake imaging as an unapproved use of a medical device. The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine also discourages the non-medical use of ultrasound for entertainment purposes. Keepsake ultrasounds are not medical tests and should not replace a clinically performed sonogram.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

As a national medical specialty society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists relies on the input of any number of its committees in the development of various documents. In the case of the items submitted for the Choosing Wisely® campaign, input from the following committees was solicited: the Committees on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement; Obstetric Practice; and Gynecologic Practice. A literature search was conducted related to the initial list of approximately ten items. We then sent this list to the College’s Executive Board and asked them to select five of the items based on their potential to improve quality and reduce cost. We explained to them that the items were written to avoid complex or clinical terminology, but not at the risk of reducing the value and credibility of the recommendations made. In the case of the first two items on our list – “Don’t schedule elective, non-medically indicated inductions of labor or Cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks 0 days gestational age” and “Don’t schedule elective, non-medically indicated inductions of labor between 39 weeks 0 days and 41 weeks 0 days unless the cervix is deemed favorable” – we collaborated with the American Academy of Family Physicians in developing the final language. A list of the second set of “five items” was selected by the Committee on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement before submission to the College’s Executive Board for approval. Any comments received from the Executive Board were incorporated into the final list that was approved.

The College’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at www.acog.org.

Sources

ACOG Committee Opinion. Number 297, August 2004. Nonmedical use of obstetric ultrasonography. ACOG Committee on Ethics. Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Aug;104(2):423-4.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Fetal keepsake videos. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/PatientAlerts/ucm064756.htm. Retrieved December 9, 2015.

Abramowicz JS, Barnett SB; ISUOG; WFUMB. The safe use of non-medical ultrasound: a summary of the proceedings of the joint safety symposium of ISUOG and WFUMB. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2009 May;33(5):617-20.

American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. Prudent use in pregnancy. Laurel (MD): AIUM; 2012. Available at: http://www.aium.org/officialstatements/33. Retrieved December 9, 2015.

Chervenak FA, McCullough LB. An ethical critique of boutique fetal imaging: a case for the medicalization of fetal imaging. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2005;192(1):31–3.