The Magic Of Seeing Your Baby’s Heartbeat For The First Time!
Seeing a picture with a tiny little beating heart and hearing it as well is magical – Yes, I am definitely pregnant!!
It is a very special time in your first time pregnancy.
Why Do You Need An Ultrasound During Pregnancy?
Prenatal care (antenatal care) is the health care you get while you are pregnant to help keep you and your baby healthy.
Ultrasounds (also called sonograms) have become a part of prenatal care. Your first ultrasound during pregnancy may be to confirm the presence of a fetal heartbeat and that implantation has occurred in the womb (uterus) (as opposed to an ectopic pregnancy in the tubes).
Later in pregnancy, ultrasounds can tell you—and your health-care provider—many things about your baby, such as:
- The size of the baby and the number of babies
- How well the baby’s heart works
- How well the internal organs (such as the spine, brain and kidneys) are growing
- Whether the placenta (afterbirth) is in the correct place
- The anticipated date of birth
- The gender, growth and position of baby
- Whether there are any major abnormalities present.
How Is An Ultrasound Done During Pregnancy?
A (chilly) gel is rubbed onto your belly (this allows the transducer to move easily on your skin and helps the sound waves to transmit into your body).
These sound waves bounce off structures (your baby!) to produce an image you can view on a computer screen.
If a scan needs to be done in early pregnancy, it may be done vaginally if there is a reason for concern. As the fetus is still very tiny, this obtains the best view of the uterus and ovaries. After week 12, abdominal views are usually used.
Your pregnancy ultrasound schedule will be determined by your doctor and depends on your health, medical history and baby’s development.
Typically, you may have one in the first trimester to confirm your pregnancy and determined the number of weeks you are pregnant and a more detailed scan in the second trimester between 16 to 22 weeks. At this stage baby is big enough to be easily visible and a detailed assessment is then made. You will be able to clearly see your baby’s head, heart, spine, arms and legs, stomach and bladder and movements.
When can you find out the gender of your baby? Usually this is possible at the mid second trimester ultrasound.
Ultrasound scans are not 100% accurate as they can detect many, but not all, abnormalities and the accuracy depends on factors such as the skill and experience of the person doing the scan, the size and position of the baby, the amount of amniotic fluid and the size of the mother (overweight or skinny). Sometimes determining the gender can be difficult even with the most experienced sonographer!
How safe are ultrasound scans? They have been used on pregnant women for more than 30 years and, so far, there has been no reason to think that it is harmful to either the baby or mother.
Ultrasounds should be used for their benefits such as providing important medical information and not just to have a picture of baby, find out the sex of the baby or to have a video of baby.
What is a 3D Ultrasound?
3D ultrasounds are not used for medical reasons. These ultrasounds are usually requested by soon-to-be parents to enable them to see a fully 3 dimensional view of their baby in the womb. It provides a better color still image of baby than a traditional black and white 2D ultrasound. A 3D ultrasound will provide you with still pictures on a CD.
If you are thinking of having a 3D or 4D ultrasound, you need to discuss this with your health care provider as you do not want to have unnecessary ultrasounds during pregnancy.
4D or Dynamic 3D Ultrasound
These ultrasounds provide color moving images of your baby and thus provides a DVD recording of your baby’s movement.
With these new incredible 3D scans it is possible to see stunning detail of the fetus. Dr Bernard Benoit from the Princes Grace Hospital in Monaco has developed new software that adds color, skin texture, lighting and shadow.
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