What is Ultrasound
The ultrasound is a valuable tool that yields a tremendous amount of information about your baby and the general state of your pregnancy. It creates an image of the baby in your uterus from which the size of your baby, the anticipated due date and how well the baby is growing can be gleaned.
Ultrasonic waves travel through your skin and tissues producing moving pictures that can be used for diagnostic purposes. Perhaps the biggest advantage of ultrasound technology is that no radiation is used. This makes it safer than any other imaging technology available.
Why is an ultrasound is done
Even in a healthy pregnancy, it is important to know many specifics such as the size of the baby with respect to gestational age, how the baby’s internal organs are developing and whether the placenta is in the right position, just to name a few.
Genetic abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome, spina bifida and other trisomies can be detected with ultrasound sonography. Very accurate measurements of the baby such as length of the femur and head circumference determine the risk of certain genetic conditions that may help the parents prepare for future challenges.
What happens during an ultrasound
You may be advised to arrive on a full bladder for an ultrasound examination. This helps the sound waves travel through your skin and tissues more easily. A clear gel will be spread on your abdomen that will allow smooth passage of sound waves from the transducer to the skin. This test usually takes 20 minutes.
When an ultrasound is done in early pregnancy, the transducer is inserted through the vagina into the birth canal. Neither transdermal nor transvaginal ultrasounds are painful to the mother although a woman might experience some pressure.
What can an ultrasound find
Most women will find out that everything is okay with your baby. But some women will find out that all is not normal. This does not always mean bad news, but only that you may need new tests for additional information. You will be referred to doctors that specialize in foetal development and foetal abnormalities.
On the other hand, a normal ultrasound does not guarantee that nothing can go wrong. Remember that the clarity of the images is impacted by many factors such as the position of the baby within the uterus, the body part being observed, the mother’s abdomen and the ultrasound equipment itself.
How safe is an ultrasound
This technology has been in use for the last thirty years and all studies so far show no ill effects on the mother or child. As with any other medical procedure, ultrasounds should not be used just for purposes of determining the sex. In fact, technologists in India can be criminally charged if the gender of the baby is revealed to the parents.
Ultrasounds can be very beneficial by providing vital information to the doctor about the health of the baby and mother. It can often give you and daddy dearest the peace of mind you richly deserve at this time just knowing that your baby and your pregnancy are coasting along nicely.