Ultrasound during pregnancy seems like a very common procedure that most expectant moms go through; but what is it for and is it really necessary? Many new moms might not realize the importance of a sonogram or ultrasound.It can go as far as detecting the baby’s heart condition, the purpose of echocardiogram or fetal echocardiography, a type of ultrasound. Learn the most important things you should know about pregnancy ultrasound.
What is Ultrasound?
Also called a sonogram, ultrasound is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound wavessent through the womb or uterus. The sound waves bounce off the baby as echoes that turn up as images on a screen, showing the fetus’ movements and position. Hard tissues reflect the most waves and make the biggest echoes, appearing white in the image while soft tissues appear gray. The black part is fluids that surround the baby. Aside from standard ultrasound, more advanced types now exist, including 3D and 4D ultrasound and fetal echocardiography.
Ultrasounds for pregnant women are done for both medical and nonmedical reasons. Reasons for ultrasound may vary depending on the period of pregnancy. During the first trimester, it may be done to confirm pregnancy, check the baby’s heartbeat, determine age to estimate due date, examine the mother’s reproductive system, identify abnormal growth or diagnose ectopic pregnancy.
During the last two trimesters, ultrasound is done to monitor position or multiple pregnancies and prepare for the type of delivery. It is also used to determine the infant’s sex, check problems such as placenta abruption and placenta previa, congenital problems and structural abnormalities. Through ultrasound, the cervix can also be measured, the amount of amniotic fluid can be determined, and if the baby is getting enough oxygen.
For transvaginal ultrasound, a full bladder is not needed to get a clear picture of the baby. This scan is performed during early stages of pregnancy to get a good image. Standard ultrasound is done during later stages. The sonographer may ask the patient to drink more water before the procedure for the echoes to reach the womb and produce a good image.
During the ultrasound scan, the mother will lie on a bed or table. The technician will apply a gel on the abdomen and pelvic area for the sound waves to travel well. A transducer will be placed and moved around the belly to capture images. The patient may have to hold her breath while images are being captured. The technician will make sure that images are clear and complete.
Ultrasound scanning is a painless, safe procedure. Though not necessary, it can still help mothers and midwives prepare for delivery. Only a few scans are needed during the course of pregnancy, and the sonographer or ultrasound technician should follow proper procedures. It’s also best to have it done by ultrasound experts to make sure there will be no problems. On the other hand, if you choose to undergo elective ultrasound for high quality imaging and early gender confirmation, you can book from reputable companies such as insideviewultrasound.com.
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Photo by Jacob Davies