Being pregnant is one of the most extraordinary experiences for parents. The happiness of this experience is further accentuated when the mother goes for an ultrasound. There are various types of ultrasounds for pregnancy, which help at every stage.
From detecting the earliest heartbeats of a baby to showing the earliest picture of the completely formed baby, the various types of ultrasounds for pregnancy do it all. It is through these ultrasounds that the healthy development of the baby is confirmed and therefore they are crucial during a pregnancy. The obstetrician uses these ultrasounds to determine the gestational age of the fetus, check for normal heartbeat and examine the fetus for congenital problems.
7 Types of Ultrasounds for Pregnancy
To guide through the pregnancy sonograms, a detailed list of the ultrasounds done during a pregnancy has been compiled in this article. Here are the most widely used types of ultrasounds for pregnancy.
This type of ultrasound for pregnancy is the very first scan. Used in the early stages of the pregnancy, a transvaginal scan is performed by using transducers inside the vagina to generate sonogram images. Transvaginal ultrasound is of the pelvic region of the mother and it evaluates the reproductive organs like the uterus, ovaries, cervix and vagina.
This type of a scan is usually ordered in a high risk pregnancy and before the standard ultrasound. It is only when the pregnancy reaches 10 weeks that the obstetrician may choose the standard ultrasound.
Standard ultrasound is the commonest type of ultrasound for pregnancy. In this scan the technician holds a device called the transducer which is shaped like a wand and rubs it over the stomach. Through this procedure 2D images of the developing fetus are created.
If any abnormality is suspected in the standard ultrasound, advanced ultrasound may be advised to look for specific areas of concern.
The advanced ultrasound is more or less like the standard ultrasound but a specific area that is examined in detail under the advanced ultrasound. Advanced ultrasound is ordered only when certain abnormalities are noted in the standard ultrasound. The main difference in both these types of ultrasounds for pregnancy is that, in advanced ultrasound, the technician scans only the specific areas, as prescribed by the obstetrician. The equipment used for this ultrasound is more sophisticated in nature.
This type of ultrasound for pregnancy, is done to ensure the correct growth of the baby and gives an approximate idea of the baby’s weight and height. It is also done to evaluate the blood flow of the fetus. Doppler ultrasound examines the changes in the frequency, however slight they may be, as they bounce from the moving objects like blood cells.
This type of ultrasound for pregnancy is used to produce 3 dimensional pictures (as the name suggests) of the fetus. For a 3-D ultrasound, a more developed computer software and specifically designed transducer is required. With these devices that a more realistic or more complete picture of the baby is generated. In this scan, the specially designed probes take images in a series of slices and with the use of specialized software, a three dimensional picture is formed on the computer. This ultrasound done in the pregnancy, gives a better idea of the growth of the fetus and is advised by the obstetrician, if needed.
Also called a 3D dynamic ultrasound, this type of ultrasound for pregnancy, gives the most life like pictures of the baby. The transducers used in this technology are further more advanced and give a more realistic view of the baby. Basically used for looking at the face of the baby, this ultrasound gives the images of the baby while performing actions. The parent can witness through this ultrasound, that the baby is moving. A simple yawn or the beating of the baby’s heart can be easily seen in this scan. One of the most thrilling experiences for the parents, this ultrasound makes the parents bond with the baby way before the delivery.
Fetal echocardiography is one of the types of ultrasounds for pregnancy is done to assess the heart and the anatomy of the baby. It is through this ultrasound, that the potential problems in the anatomy of the baby or regarding the working of the heart of the baby can be judged beforehand. Again, this ultrasound is ordered if the obstetrician finds some problem in the standard ultrasound, the baby’s heart beat is irregular or if the parents have a history of heart abnormalities. The technician can perform these scans either through the vagina or through the abdomen, as the condition is best suited.
These are the various types of ultrasound for pregnancy and they must be performed only as advised. Each scan has its own significance and the need for each of them must be carefully evaluated to ensure maximum benefits and safety.
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