U.K. issues new guidance on obstetric ultrasound

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Four professional organizations in the U.K. have collaborated on a joint statement to provide guidance on the recording of ultrasound examinations and the use of private ultrasound providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR), the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), and the British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS) said they produced the document in response to questions from practitioners, women's advocacy groups, and the public who are concerned about the limitations currently imposed on partners and companions during ultrasound exams. Questions have also been raised about the role of private ultrasound clinics in providing additional examinations for fetal bonding, gender, and 3D and 4D imaging, they said.

The goal "is to support local policy decisions in ultrasound departments and private practice, to ensure that government recommendations are met, while still providing woman-centred care," according to the organizations.

The document includes best-practice guidelines, which include a recommendation for the exam to be performed as quickly as possible. The number of people in the ultrasound examination area should also be limited to reduce the chance of virus transmission from staff to women and vice versa, according to the organizations.

In addition, the statement includes sections about ensuring the involvement of the partner or companion when discussing unexpected findings or difficult news, as well as the role of private providers during the pandemic.

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