Ultrasounds are an interesting subject for every pregnant woman. They want to know everything about these devices, starting from usage, preparation, and all the way to the resulting image. That is where the story gets the most relevant twist.
What will be on the screen?
Will it be a healthy baby with great development characteristics?
We all wish for that. It is important to know why a woman needs an ultrasound and what the main advantages of this procedure are. For that reason, we reveal the most interesting facts about these amazing devices.
Here is the complete guide into the world of ultrasounds, where you will find out everything you need to know. Pay attention to these questions and get the answers that can change your opinion about ultrasounds.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is an Ultrasound?
- 2 Why Do I Need an Ultrasound?
- 3 Are Ultrasound Scans Safe?
- 4 How Many Ultrasounds Are Safe During Pregnancy?
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Ultrasound?
In the world of medicine, the invention of ultrasounds was a significant improvement. Women got a chance to know more about their baby development, especially in situations when an additional attention is needed. If the baby has some development issue, a good ultrasound can reveal it. That is why ultrasounds changed the whole pregnancy time.
Ultrasounds are based on sound waves of high-frequency. The reflection of the waves creates the complete picture of your baby inside the stomach. This is a non-invasive diagnostics that is safe and reliable. An ultrasound is combined with a computer that translates the sounds into a visible picture. This way, you can see the baby development.
Why Do I Need an Ultrasound?
You need an ultrasound to see you baby’s state in different periods of time. You can use an ultrasound to reveal the position, movements and overall condition of the baby. In some cases, you can also see if the baby has some development issues. It is crucially important for prevention of deformities and other complications. Once you know how the baby reacts in different stages of development, you are more able to take necessary steps.
At the same time, you will discover the baby’s sex, which is possible between 16 and 20 weeks. Only for the parents who want to know this information, of course. If you want to keep this information unrevealed, your doctor should not tell you about it. Why most parents decide not to know the sex of the baby? They definitely want to get surprised at the end. The excitement is huge, especially after so many weeks of waiting. You are eager to see your baby, and at this point, you are more than happy. With the good ultrasound, you are able to see the baby’s movement and all parts of the body.
A proper scanning will reveal additional things like:
- Baby’s heartbeat measurements
- Baby’s overall size
- Location of placenta
- Amount of fluids inside the uterus
All these things are important for parents, especially in the first months of pregnancy. They will know more about their baby, and, at the same time, they will know which measures to take in order to ensure further development.
Are Ultrasound Scans Safe?
There are no evidences that ultrasounds have harmful effects, because many studies have been taken during the past years. All of them suggest that cumulative effect is not possible, even when multiple scans are taken. Women can be completely safe.
Aside from these studies, many doctors suggest that ultrasounds should not be taken just for fun. Only if you have a need to do a scan, you should do it, because multiple scans are not recommended. Why is that? Ultrasounds are providing a form of energy, and, as a developing creature, a baby should be protected from all kinds of excessive energy sources.
Moderate usage of ultrasounds is good, as long as you need it. Listen to your doctor’s recommendations and follow the medical advice. Few scans during the pregnancy will not harm the baby, but, as with any kind of medical screening, you should be careful enough not to exceed the limits.
Are Too Many Ultrasounds Bad for the Baby?
As we mentioned before, ultrasounds are energy projectors. They do not contain harmful X-rays or radiation, like some other devices, but they do project the energy. When this energy applies to the baby’s placenta, few changes can occur.
Each baby reacts differently to the energy, and many alternative medicine specialists believe that energy has a potential to make a reaction. Sometimes, that reaction is positive, and sometimes, the behavior is negative. We should believe in the power of energy sources, because all people are made of this natural potential.
It is advisable to avoid ultrasound scans during the first trimester, because this period is the most sensitive for the baby. Each stage of development is more complex and that is why parents need to avoid scans in these days.
How Many Ultrasounds Are Safe During Pregnancy?
Some women believe that many ultrasounds are actually good for getting information. It is not always the case. With numerous ultrasounds, you will find out more about the baby, but, at the same time, you expose the baby to the risk.
It is advisable to have two ultrasound scans during your pregnancy, because this amount of scans is the safest. The first scan is good in the first three months, when the baby is growing. Another one is adequate to make in 18 week, when the anatomy of the baby is already completed. In this period, you can see the sex, the anatomical development and the overall condition of the baby.
If you are more curious about the baby health, you can look for the additional tests, like nuchal translucency test, amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling. All these tests are relevant for the parents who want to know more about the baby health.
More than two ultrasounds might be harmful and that is the reason why most doctors recommend only two ultrasound scans during the whole pregnancy.
What Are Side Effects of Ultrasounds on a Baby?
In most situations, the ultrasound scans are safe, but, if used in the excessive way, the side effects could occur. The complication like low birth weight is a possible side effect, especially in situations when women use too many scans. Low birth weight is a condition that occurs in different occasions, and the trigger might be an ultrasound.
Another complication is poorer condition at birth, when a baby needs the most important time for assimilation to the new environment. A baby is the most vulnerable at this time, and medical staff should provide additional care to the children in this state.
In order to avoid these side effects, it is good to maintain the overall health condition in a positive aspect. A woman should take care of each segment of pregnancy, and one of them is definitely the usage of ultrasounds. Keep the number of scans as low as possible.
How Can I Be Sure My Scans Are Performed Safely?
There is a certain procedure of ultrasound scanning, which is the common thing in the hospitals. Doctors are able to conduct the whole procedure in a matter of few moments.
Once you are on an examination table, your abdomen is exposed and you are ready for the procedure. An assistant will rub the gel all over your belly to get the full
coverage. At this point, you are lying relaxed, because the whole procedure is completely painless.
In order to ensure the complete safety of the procedure, certain standards need to be maintained. Getting the real picture on the screen is the most important. How to make it possible? By taking care of each step.
An assistant will keep the high level of professionalism, because certain things are important. Hygiene, the accuracy of ultrasound and overall quality of the equipment are the most relevant. When all conditions are fulfilled, you are ready for the next step.
The gel on the belly is applied and an ultrasound scan can begin. The sonographer takes the transducer and rolls it all over the belly. If you wonder how the transducer look like, it is of the size of a soap, and it has a rounded surface. It is completely painless, and it provides smooth feeling.
As a result of the screening, you will see a picture on the screen. It is a resulting echo on the monitor. You will see the bones, the tissues of the baby in the growing phase, and all other details that are important to you. The examiner usually tells you about the condition, and there is one thing he or she will not tell you if you do not want to know. It is a sex of the baby.
Every mother has the right not to know this, so the surprise can be bigger. During the scanning, you can find out many important facts about your baby. One of them is the development stage, which is the most important in the whole process. When you know how your baby grows, you are more confident about your pregnancy.
What Are Safety Issues That You Need to Look Before You Take Ultrasounds?
Most safety measurements during the scanning procedure are relevant to all women. One of the most popular methods for creating the safe environment is the right preparation.
A woman should be completely relaxed and ready for the procedure. It is important to feel stable, because the heart beats of the baby might be slightly higher if the mother is under stress. In this case, the complete picture of the condition might be different.
Before the procedure, take your time to prepare. An empty bladder provides better picture. Therefore, use the toilet and consider few moments to relax. The better you feel, the better results you get.
On the other hand, the practitioner should prepare the room for the scanning. Checking of the equipment is necessary, because the good state of the equipment will provide relevant results. At the same time, the solutions for safety increase are numerous. Most clinics and hospitals consider safety as the highest priority, and it should be a matter of a standard procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are the usual questions that most parents ask about an ultrasound. Here are the answers you might be interested in.
1. What is the difference between 3-D and 4-D ultrasound?
A 3-D ultrasound is the most commonly used in the medical environment. It is the safest method to see the baby clearly as a photograph view. As an opposite, 4-D ultrasound is designed to capture the baby’s movement, but its usage in the practice is not so popular.
2. It is important where the ultrasound is done?
It is very important to get the ultrasound in a doctor’s office, or in any other kind of official medical centers. In these offices, you are treated by the personnel with experience in handling of equipment. The more professional the environment is, the more relevant results you will get.
3. What happens if some problems are detected?
Do not panic. Sometimes, the suspicious results are not the reason for concerns. They might be only temporary conditions. If your baby has a serious heart rhythm or a urinary tract blockage, these problems may disappear during the pregnancy. In the case of prolonged issues, the doctor will tell you which methods to apply in order to safely deliver the baby.
4. Are there multiple ways to do an ultrasound?
Yes. There are two ways to do an ultrasound. One of them is by examining the abdomen on the belly surface. The other one is vaginal examination. Both methods are equally accurate.
5. How to read the picture?
Once you see the picture of your child on the computer screen, you can see different shades. Lighter and grey areas are showing bones and tissues, while dark areas represent amniotic fluid. Looking at the whole picture will give you a complete overview of the baby’s health.
6. How long does an ultrasound take?
Usually, an ultrasound examination takes about 15 minutes. During this time, you will find out many things you need to know in order to keep your pregnancy safe.
7. What happens if I am diagnosed with too much or too little amniotic fluid?
If you are diagnosed with unstable level of amniotic fluid, your practitioner will consider adequate following of the condition. You will probably make another ultrasound during your third semester of pregnancy.
8. What happens if there is more than one baby?
You will find it out on an ultrasound during the first trimester. The number of babies will be visible from the very beginning, and the happiness will surely multiply!
All these things about an ultrasound will help you feel more comfortable during your pregnancy. Feel free to ask your doctor and practitioner all additional questions you might have. They will be at your service. The health of your baby is the most important thing in the whole pregnancy time.