Ultrasounds During Pregnancy – Some Frequently Asked Questions

Ultrasounds during pregnancy are routinely performed to check for proper growth and development of the baby, the health of the mother as well as to detect any pregnancy abnormalities.

However as in all things, when a woman is pregnant she is likely to have doubts about everything and may well have a lot of questions about the procedure of ultrasound as well. Some of the most frequently asked questions about ultrasounds during pregnancy are:

Ultrasounds During PregnancyAre ultrasounds during pregnancy safe?

This is probably the first thing that occurs to a woman who has to undergo an ultrasound scan. An ultrasound is currently regarded as the safest, most accurate, non invasive and cost effective tool for assessment of the wellbeing of a pregnancy.

Though it is argued that the possible effects in the longer term are not known, as of now, ultrasounds are considered safe to use, so far as they are used only as medically indicated.

It is important to remember that ultrasounds are not X-rays and that they use sound waves rather than X-rays and that it is X-rays and not sound waves that produce radiation.

The many benefits of the ultrasound as a diagnostic tool tend to outweigh any apprehensions of as yet unknown consequences.

What will the first pregnancy ultrasound and subsequent ultrasounds tell me?

The first ultrasound may not show a pregnant woman any recognizable form of her pregnancy, but it will confirm a heartbeat, it will assess a likely due date for the child to be born, it will rule out problems such as a molar or an ectopic pregnancy (which can be potentially life threatening) and try to look for fetal abnormalities if any, and whether it is a singleton or multiple pregnancy.

In the second trimester and third trimester, the ultrasounds will gauge that the baby is growing as per expectation, will check levels of amniotic fluid, and will confirm viability of the placenta and its proper position. If there are any precautions that a mother needs to take, she will be told of these as well as her expected date of delivery as per gestational age.

What are the different kinds of ultrasounds?

A Standard ultrasound shows a regular 2 dimensional image of the pregnancy.  A transvaginal ultrasound is performed by inserting a probe up through the vagina and is performed only in the early part of pregnancy and when required.

Advanced ultrasounds have more high tech equipment, and may have a three dimensional, colored view, with greater visible detail. There are also 4D ultrasounds, which are able to show the face and the movements of the baby inside the mother’s womb.

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