An ultrasound is the most common diagnostic procedure during pregnancy. It helps doctors in various ways like determining the sex of the baby, figuring out if anything could go wrong with the foetus and many other things. It has a lot of benefits and is considered one of the safest procedures.
Even though generally, it is said that ultrasounds do not pose any risks to the mother of the foetus, however, it is a form of energy and it is recommended that you get it done by a doctor. In this article, we will tell you what’s the significance of ultrasound during pregnancy.
What is an ultrasound?
An ultrasound is kind of a scan that converts sound waves with high frequency into images. The sound waves are sent through to study the internal body and it is used best to study the foetus. The waves are emitted from a vibrating crystal, the echoes are then transformed into 2D or 3D images on a monitor.
An ultrasound is used to monitor the development of the baby throughout the pregnancy and helps the doctor understand if the foetus could have any abnormalities such as Down Syndrome. The images are not high quality, so they can only be used to determine any suspicions. To confirm the suspicions, further tests need to be conducted. The process is safe and painless and definitely recommended. The number of ultrasounds usually varies in each pregnancy.
What are the different types of ultrasounds?
There is more than one way of getting an ultrasound –
- Transvaginal ultrasound – This kind of ultrasound is usually done early in the pregnancy by vaginal insertion, basically to confirm your pregnancy. Additionally, it is used to determine the number of foetuses, the heart rate and the position of your baby. The ultrasound is also very beneficial for later in the pregnancy if the other forms of ultrasound are unable to provide enough information.
- Transabdominal ultrasound – This is a less tedious, simple process. The device is placed on your abdomen to view the development of your foetus and check the progress in your pregnancy. This type of ultrasound is a routine process 18-22 weeks into the pregnancy.
- Foetal echocardiography – This process is performed if the doctor suspects that the foetus may have some kind of heart defect. This is very similar to the regular ultrasound process, but this one takes more time as it gets details on the heart of the baby, including the shape, size, and structure of the heart. It could be really beneficial in diagnosing heart defects in the baby.
- 3D/4D ultrasound – Traditionally, the ultrasound in pregnancy is usually a 2D one. However, a 3D and 4D ultrasound allows you and your doctor to determine the height, width and depth of the baby and its organs. This is very helpful to diagnose if the foetus has any problems.
What are the uses of ultrasound in each trimester?
Ultrasounds are useful in different ways during each trimester of the pregnancy.
- During the first trimester – The ultrasound that is done during the first 3 months of pregnancy is to confirm the pregnancy and to determine the normal growth of the foetus. It is also helpful in calculating the gestational period and the due date.
- During the second trimester – The ultrasound during this period is done to check the development of the spine, brain, limbs and other internal organs of the baby. If the parents want to know, they can also determine the sex of the baby.
- During the third trimester – The ultrasound during the last trimester is used to check the proper development of the baby. It is also used to locate the baby’s position and whether the delivery should be normal or not.
What to expect during an ultrasound?
Going for an ultrasound for the first time can make you question a lot of things. But to give you a heads up,
- You may be asked to drink lots of water before your appointment.
- You may need to have a full bladder so that the technician can have a clear image of your reproductive organs and the foetus.
- During the ultrasound, you will be asked to lie down on the table. The doctor will apply a water-based gel to your pelvic area. They, then put the transducer on your belly which sends the sound waves through your body to get images of the baby on the monitor.
Pregnancies, although a magical experience, can be tough on women’s bodies and minds. They are constantly worried about the development of the baby. Getting an ultrasound can solve a lot of their problems and put their worries to rest. It is a safe procedure that constantly tracks the development of the baby and further procedures if recommended by the doctor!