Lack of ultrasound access in Irish Republic puts babies at risk

Babies are at increased risk of mortality because pregnant mothers do not have adequate access to ultrasound scans, according to a report published on 19 January in the Irish Times.

Fewer than half of pregnant women have access to the 20- to 22-week ultrasound screening exam, said Dr. Louise Kenny, PhD, of the University College Cork in the Republic of Ireland. Kenny spoke at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health meeting.

The ultrasound scan can identify fetal abnormalities or significant neonatal conditions, which, if undiagnosed, can increase the mortality rates of babies born with these problems, Kenny said.

Also discussed at the meeting was the National Maternity Strategy 2016-2026, of which screening ultrasound is a part, according to the Times report. Dr. Peter Boylan, chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said ultrasound should be available for all women around the country, and geographical inadequacies need to be addressed.

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