An ultrasound picture can be momentous proof to placate your whirring brain during early pregnancy. Prenatal care employs different techniques, including ultrasound, to determine the health and development of unborn fetuses. The important medical information gathered from the prenatal ultrasound scans performed during pregnancy will help you and your gynecologist to carve the best care plan for you and your baby.
What is a Prenatal Ultrasound?
A prenatal ultrasound is a medical procedure suggested and performed by a licensed physician. The process uses sound waves to create a live image of the fetus inside the womb, which you can view on a monitor’s screen.
The ultrasound is conducted using a piece of hand-held equipment known as a transducer, which is responsible for creating sound waves which the human ear cannot hear. Then, the ultrasound machine will detect sound waves that bounce off the uterus, turning the baby’s body structure into an image.
What is The Process of Prenatal Ultrasound?
Prenatal ultrasound can be performed in two different ways.
- Transabdominal Ultrasound is done by seamlessly moving a transducer over the abdominal region of the pregnant woman. This is one of the most commonly used methods during a scan.
- Endovaginal or transvaginal ultrasound gently inserts a narrow inducer inside the vagina. This method is only suggested to analyze specific conditions that might occur in early pregnancy.
Compared with a transabdominal scan, endovaginal ultrasound gives a clear view of the uterus, the length of the cervix, the position of the placenta, and more.
How to Prepare For The Examination?
Once the appointment for the ultrasound examination is scheduled, you will receive specific instructions on how to prepare for it. For instance, a common instruction is to drink at least eight ounces of water or any other liquid of your choice and undergo the process with a full bladder.
Why is Prenatal Ultrasound Performed?
The prenatal ultrasound provides gynecologists with varied information regarding your pregnancy and the fetus. Typically, the scan will provide the following information.
- Age of the baby (either in days or weeks), along with the estimated delivery date
- Size and growth of the fetus
- Any minor or major physical concerns
- Analyze the amount of amniotic fluid present around the fetus
- The exact position of the baby
- Investigate any concerns regarding the uterus, ovaries, cervix, or placenta
When is The Best Time For a Prenatal Ultrasound?
Your doctor can instruct you to go for an ultrasound anytime during pregnancy, according to your body’s medical requirements. However, prenatal ultrasound is usually recommended during the first and second trimesters.
- First Trimester
As a part of prenatal screening options, some pregnant women are allowed a special type of ultrasound, known as Nuchal Translucency ultrasound. This scan is performed with certain blood tests to detect the baby’s chance of developing Down Syndrome or an open neural tube defect. Other than that, prenatal ultrasound during the first trimester, up to 14 weeks, is used for the following purposes.
- Detect how far along your pregnancy is.
- Determine the due date.
- Identify the number of babies and if they share a placenta and amniotic sac.
- Second Trimester
The prenatal ultrasound during the second trimester, between 14 and 27 weeks, is the best way to analyze the anatomy of the fetus, indicating any growth and birth defects. The scan will examine the fetus’s shape and size and monitor the woman’s and the baby’s health throughout the pregnancy.
- Third Trimester
Your gynecologist may suggest you undergo one or more ultrasounds during the third trimester, that is, after 27 weeks, if they are suspicious about the following conditions.
- The size, growth, and position of the baby
- The level of amniotic fluid around the fetus
- The location of the placenta
- The extended length of the cervix
Is Prenatal Ultrasound a Safe Process?
Prenatal ultrasound has been involved in pregnancy for decades with no proven health risks for the mother and baby. Ultrasound generally involves sound rays and does not use ionizing radiation like X-rays. Moreover, a professional gynecologist should order an ultrasound examination which trained practitioners should do with expert knowledge and skill.
To Sum Up
If you are in your early pregnancy, the first ultrasound date is something you would eagerly look forward to. The number and type of scans might vary according to your specific health condition and whether any problems are suspected in the development of the fetus.
At CDNcare, we offer safe and reliable ultrasound scan that provides valuable information for parents and healthcare professionals to manage the pregnancy and fetus. Moreover, our prenatal ultrasound is a perfect way for parents to ‘see’ their baby before birth, giving them a unique opportunity to bond and build an early connection.