A form of ultrasound that can detect and measure blood flow.
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Pregnancy ultrasounds: When and why they are needed
For many expectant mothers, the first ultrasound scan is very exciting. That’s because it allows them to get the first glimpse of their baby. But ultrasounds serve a very important purpose, which is to make sure your baby is safe and healthy. How does an ultrasound work? An ultrasound sends high-frequency waves through the tummy and into the uterus. Hard tissues like bones show up as white areas while soft tissues appear grey and fluids like the amniotic fluid appear black. This combination of colours allows the doctor to determine if all is well with the baby by interpreting the ultrasound. Ultrasounds have been in use for over 40 years and are supposed to be completely safe for the child. Nonetheless, every scan should be justified and only the minimum scans needed to make a correct diagnosis should be undertaken. Who does the ultrasound? It is done by doctors who have special training in ultrasound and a certificate registered under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act. The ultrasound can only be performed in a clinic that follows the guideline under the Act. How does the scan work? You need to drink a lot of water so that your uterus can be seen easily in the scan. The doctor will put some cold gel on your stomach move a small hand-held transducer or probe over your tummy to get views of the baby. If the picture isn’t clear enough, especially in the early days, you may need a vaginal scan. The vaginal transducer will fit comfortably inside your vagina. The doctor will use a lubricated condom to cover the transducer so that it slides in easily. The probe does not go in very deep, so it will not harm you or your baby in any way. Ultrasounds are not painful in any way although the abdominal one may feel slightly uncomfortable on a full bladder. When and why are scans undertaken? The regular scans, generally between 4 and 5 if you have a healthy pregnancy include the following. Dating and viability scan between 6 and 9 weeks. This helps to confirm where the fertilized egg has embedded itself which is where the placenta will grow. This scan also helps to make sure that your baby has a heartbeat and whether you have one baby or multiples. This can also detect an ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo implants in the Fallopian tube, not the uterus. It also helps to accurately date your baby by measuring the fetus. Nuchal translucency (NT) scan between 11 and 13 weeks. This helps to assess the risk of Down's syndrome by measuring the fluid at the back of the baby's neck. Anomaly scan (ultrasound level II) between 18 and 20 weeks. This helps to find out why a blood screening test was abnormal. Growth scan or fetal wellbeing scan between 28 and 32 weeks. This helps to examine the baby to check that all her organs are developing normally. Growth scan and colour Doppler studies between 36 and 40 weeks. Featured Image Source