Importance of Ultrasound During Pregnancy

Pregnant mothers routinely undergo ultrasound tests to check whether the pregnancy is developing normally. An ultrasound in Lake Nona utilizes high frequency sound waves to produce images of the fetus, uterus and placenta.

The ultrasound offers the parent(s) a first look at their baby, which is usually a happy moment for many. Additionally, the test provides crucial information to the parents about the health of their developing baby.

Diagnostic Uses of Ultrasound in Pregnancy

Gynecologists use an ultrasound to examine a developing fetus, and the mother’s placenta and uterus to ensure proper growth. On the most basic level, the ultrasound is used to assess a pregnancy for the following reasons:

  • Confirm that a woman is indeed pregnant
  • Determine the gestational age of the fetus: Medically speaking, a pregnancy term lasts between 37 and 41 weeks. It’s essential to confirm the gestational age of a fetus for several reasons. For instance, the baby’s growth will be measured against a growth chart to ensure it is developing properly. The gestational age is verified against the dates the mother provides about her last menses in order to establish the due date. Confirming the due date helps to ensure the baby isn’t delivered too early or too late.
  • Inspect for multiple pregnancies: A pregnancy with more than one baby carries special risks and needs regular monitoring. Complications like a twin-to-twin transfusion and cervical incompetence need prompt medical attention.
  • Possible placenta problems: During pregnancy the placenta’s position within the uterus is vital to the health of the baby and mother. An ultrasound can help to establish any possible complications such as placenta previa, vasa previa, placenta accreta, placenta increta and placenta percreta.
  • Monitor the fetal position: Sometimes, it can be vital to know the position of the baby, because it can affect the delivery method. Through an ultrasound, the gynecologists knows whether the position is a breech, cephalic, optimal or transverse.
  • Inspect for congenital anomalies: A lot of parents will want to check whether their child suffers from a congenital or genetic condition. That allows them to be ready for the difficulties linked to the specific issue.
  • Monitor the fetal growth: Given that the baby’s growth is not normal, it can indicate problems with the mother’s placenta or the baby’s health. Either way, early medical intervention might be necessary to tackle the problem.
  • Check the level of amniotic fluid: When the amniotic fluid in the mother’s womb is too much or too little, it might indicate problems with the pregnancy. Early detection may help to treat the condition on time.

Types of Ultrasound

Currently, ultrasound imaging comes in different forms for different purposes. Here are some of the different types of ultrasound:

  • Transvaginal ultrasound: It’s performed when it is necessary to produce a clearer image for diagnostic reasons.
  • 3D ultrasound: Unlike the transitional 2D ultrasound imaging, 3D ultrasound enables the physician to assess the height, width and depth of the developing baby. It also allows the doctor to gain a better view of the mother’s organs. 3D ultrasound helps to increase diagnostic precision, especially when it comes to checking for congenital heart defects.
  • 4D ultrasound: It’s used to create real-time images of the developing fetus.

Ultrasound is at times used to diagnose problems occurring after the birth of a baby. However, it’s not as helpful as MRI or CT in detecting the presence of a hypoxic-ischemic injury in a newborn’s brain. It is helpful in the diagnosis of brain hemorrhage, and initial examination of brain anatomy to check for unusual changes.