The Role of Ultrasound in Pregnancy

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A pregnancy is one of the greatest miracles of life, and we sometimes rely on technology to make it happen for us. Once a pregnancy is suspected, the would-be parents do everything in their power to safeguard a pregnancy, just like how a chicken safeguards its egg. And one way to do that is through an ultrasound. Here are  the different types of ultrasound procedures and some of the reasons why it is so important.

What is an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound comes in the form of vibrations or ultrasonic frequency that is emitted from an ultrasound machine, that creates an image of the inside of the body.

It is mostly used to locate or view an embryo or fetus in the early and the last stages of pregnancy.

How Does an Ultrasound Work?

Images or pictures created by the ultrasound machine are made through very high-pitched sound waves that are picked up by a transducer. The transducer is a scanning device that picks up the sound waves spring back from an organ in the body. These sound waves travel through the skin and focuses on a certain part of the body.

Purpose of Ultrasound in Pregnancy

1st Trimester of Pregnancy

  • To confirm the pregnancy
  • To check for multiple pregnancies
  • To check for fetal heartbeat
    To determine the gestational age of the baby and the possible due date
  • To view and examine the placenta, uterus, ovaries and cervix
  • To diagnose for ectopic pregnancies
  • To check for abnormalities in the growth of the fetus

2nd and 3rd Trimester of Pregnancy

  • To monitor fetal growth and position
  • To determine the sex of the baby
  • To confirm multiple pregnancies
  • To check for problems concerning the placenta like abruption placenta and placenta previa.
  • To check for signs of Down’s Syndrome
  • To check for abnormalities and defects
  • Monitor the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus
  • To check for problems in the uterus, like tumors.
  • To measure the length of the cervix
  • To check if the fetus is getting enough oxygen in the womb
  • To confirm fetal death

Different Types of Ultrasound Procedures

Transvaginal Ultrasound

A transvaginal ultrasound makes use of a transducer wand that is inserted into a woman’s vagina to get an image of the uterus or ovaries.

It is sometimes used to confirm pregnancy by determining a fetus’s heartbeat through this procedure.

3D Ultrasound

The 3D Ultrasound can determine the width, height and depth of the fetus, as well as the mother’s organs. This is useful when checking for fetal abnormalities and other problems affecting the pregnancy. It follows the same procedure as with a 2D ultrasound, only that it uses a special a different probe and software.

4D Ultrasound

A 4D ultrasound can create a moving image of the fetus inside the womb. It can also create a much better image of the face and movements of the baby. It also uses special equipment and technician should undergo proper training.

Fetal Echocardiography

This is done when a congenital heart defect is suspected in the fetus. It can show an in-depth image of the fetal heart such as its size, shape and structure. It can show how the fetal heart is functioning.

Bottom Line

So, get yourself checked as soon as possible when you know that you are expecting. Ultrasound is painless, safe, and effective in diagnosing and determining problems during pregnancy.

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