“The Ultrasound Culture”

“The Ultrasound Culture”. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 104.11 (1997): viii-viii. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

The main argument of this article is that ultrasounds have become unnecessary for many medical reasons. It is explained that they are more used for a social aspect. Our culture has taken a medical procedure and pushed it into being strictly useful for what the sex of a baby in a pregnancy is. Originally regular pregnancies were used in order to determine menstrual dates, however in order to know when to do the ultrasound you must go off of the calendar anyways. Although, it was argued that through trials when regular ultrasounds were completed those pregnancies were less likely to have induction of labor. We also learn that it is believed that doing routine ultrasound checks gives a women reassurance, allows them to bond with the fetus, and decreases the anxiety, but the author of the article refers to Catherine Baillie and her colleagues, that these facts have all been disproved. In conclusion though it is still unclear that medical procedures need to be taken, there is no adverse effects to doing an ultrasound, therefore it is a safe procedure to be done.

There is weakness in the author’s argument because they never clearly establish their opinion on whether we need ultrasounds or not in the beginning. It is not clear on if we need them until the last paragraph when the author argues that they do not do any harm to the pregnancies, and therefore we should continue to use them. They do well at referring to other published works in order to establish confidence and trust in the reliability of what they are saying. Their research brings up ethical issues of the fact that many people use ultrasounds only to establish what the sex of the baby will be when it is born. This also leads to issues about abortion.

This leads back to previous readings of establishing genders. Society and culture often pushes to express Genetaliea through different ways for example pink and blue or clothing. As we read in Myra Hird’s “Making Sex, Making Sexual Difference”, it is not always as simple as we make it out to be. Also more often than not, our society is to general and jumps to conclusions.  The article helps show how society often loses sight of what is truly important, and focuses on other social aspects; this can be explained when the author expresses, “Ultrasound has now become so routine in pregnancy that it is no longer a medical investigation, but a social event, where families come to watch, request pictures of the infant inside the uterus and wish to know its sex” (The Ultrasound Culture).

 

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