WHY DO WE NEED ULTRASOUND IN PREGNANCY?
Ultrasound is an ultra high frequency sound wave which generates an image to view the fetus in utero. The sound waves are above the range of human hearing. From a transducer or a probe placed deep within the vagina (in early pregnancy) or on the surface of the abdomen (second and third trimesters), sound waves are emitted at millions of cycles per second. A pattern of echo waves creates a picture from a variety of surfaces from fluid and soft tissues to a bony skeleton.
ROLE OF ULTRASOUND IN PREGNANCY
To assess viability of a pregnancy
An early pregnancy scan is performed to determine the number of fetuses present and to confirm the location of pregnancy – intrauterine ( in the correct location within the uterus), or in the Fallopian tubes known as an ectopic pregnancy. The baby’s heart is fully developed by 6 weeks and by 7 weeks it should be seen on ultrasound.
To determine due date
Not every woman recalls the date of their last menstrual cycle or may experience irregular periods. Measurements are taken of the baby to determine the gestational age and the expected due date.
Assess the risk for Downs Syndrome
An NT scan asseses the risk for Downs syndrome ,a chromosomal abnormality ,and also to determine the risk associated with this abnormality.However an invasive test such as Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis (amnio) is the only way to confidently rule out any chromosomal abnormalities.
Exclude major abnormalities
Anomaly scan – Abnormalities associated with the spine, brain, face, heart, stomach, kidneys and limbs can be detected
Assess fetal growth
Measurements of baby’s head, abdomen and thigh bone are taken and the weight of the baby is estimated to ensure the baby is growing well. Baby’s movements and the amount of amniotic fluid around baby are assessed. With the used of color Doppler the blood flow to the placenta and the baby can be seen. The placental position is important to exclude placenta praevia.
Most importantly – A Bonding session
Technology has come a long way to provide parents with a 3 dimensional image of their unborn child. Although dependent on how baby lies, seeing his/her face is an awesome experience. A 4 dimensional image (including time) has rocked the ultrasound world.
So look out for that yawn or better yet a smile!
AT SPECTRA WE HAVE 3D ULTRASOUND AND WELL QUALIFIED RADIOLOGIST TO DO YOUR PREGNANCY SCANS FOR YOU!