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Health and Fitness

Ultrasound: Ensuring Healthy Pregnancy Through Consistent Surveillance

Pregnancy is the most wonderful period in the life of a happily married couple, where a miraculous creation takes place in the womb of the woman. A new life takes shape in the womb of a woman, and it will not be until nine months that a fully-developed human baby will be delivered to her. Pregnancy is the most sensitive time for both the mother-to-be and the father-to-be, and often for the whole gamut of relatives and wise old ladies who keep guessing and pestering the couple whether it will be a boy or a girl!

Nowadays, pregnancy scans are part and parcel of medical routine checks to ensure the healthy advancement of the pregnancy. Ultrasound in pregnancy is quite common today. It is advised by gynecologists to keep track of the pregnancy through all three trimesters.

Ultrasound in Various Stages of Pregnancy

  • 6 – 8 weeks (Early Pregnancy): This ultrasound is done trans-vaginally to confirm pregnancy and arrive at the EDD (Expected Delivery Date). The sonographer places a wand-shaped transducer probe into the vagina. It sends sound waves forth and back to reveal a picture of the foetus in black and white. The fetus’s heartbeat can be seen in the sonogram at the gestation period of 6 weeks.
  • 10–13 weeks (“Dating” Ultrasound): If you have missed your early pregnancy scans, you may go for a “dating” ultrasound. It reveals information like EDD, fetal heart rate, multiple pregnancies, and crown-rump length.
  • 14–20 weeks (Nuchal Translucency (NT) Ultrasound): This tests the foetus for defects in the heart, Down’s syndrome, other types of chromosomal abnormalities, and any family history of birth defects. It is advised that you have yourself screened if you are 35 years of age or older.
  • 18 – 20 weeks (Anatomy Scan): It is a detailed ultrasound of the second trimester period. This scan detects abnormalities like spina bifida and other defects in the fetus’s organs. It also examines the placenta and the amniotic fluid levels. You may know the number of digits (fingers and toes), and even the sex of the fetus.
  • Ultrasound of the Third Trimester: It is usually not required except for extreme medical conditions like bleeding, low volume of amniotic fluid, high blood pressure, or pre-term contractions in pregnant women. It also reveals whether the baby is in a normal or breech position before being born.
  • The Doppler ultrasound: It is used to measure the fetal blood pressure and blood flow in order to ensure that the fetus has adequate blood flow.
  • Other Scans:Amniocentesis and fetal echocardiogram also require ultrasounds to detect fetal abnormalities.

The 3D and 4D Ultrasounds

  • In a 3D ultrasound, a clear photograph of the fetus is obtained, revealing its facial details. It uses advanced technology wherein thousands of pictures are clicked at once.
  • A 4D ultrasound is also called a “dynamic 3D ultrasound” because it creates a moving video-like image showing the movement of a fetus inside the womb.

It is quite normal if a woman doesn’t undergo any ultrasounds. It is still possible to deliver a healthy baby. But in most cases today, it is found that modern lifestyle changes have engendered greater complexities in the human body, resulting in fetal abnormalities. So it is highly advisable to go for an ultrasound in pregnancy as and when a doctor prescribes. Pregnancy scans are very safe and advisable. It is very important to know the position of the baby and the placenta. If a low placenta is noted during late pregnancy, then a requisite caesarean is advised. Without knowing these factors, it can be very dangerous for both the mother and the child to be born.

So do thorough online searches for healthcare centers that have high-quality ultrasound equipment in top-notch running condition. Also, go through the profiles of the city’s sonographers. Good centers also have an online appointment portal on their websites.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I prepare for the Ultrasound?

The sonographer will advise you to drink enough water to have a full bladder that you can hold during the ultrasound. This gets clearer image of the fetus.

Q. Is Ultrasound harmful in any way?

There is no risk either to the child or the mother.

Q. Can I know the sex of the fetus?

Our country’s screening program has strictly advised against revealing the sex of fetus. It is a punishable offence.

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