Perhaps the most commonly used non-invasive technique in creating images and diagnosing inside body conditions are the “Ultrasound”, others call it – “Sonography”. What is an Ultrasound? As defined by the National Institutes of Health, Ultrasound is a machine producing a high-frequency sound waves use to create images of organs and visualize the structure inside the human body. Generally, when we hear ultrasound we always associate it with pregnant women.
Having the basic Knowledge of the benefits and advantages of ultrasound helps the pregnant women to take care of themselves by submitting to this test. Despite the advent of this technology there are still women refuses to do the prenatal test because of fear of its effects as well as the cost associated with it. This paper will focus on the uses and benefits of ultrasound to pregnant women or what we commonly called the prenatal test.
Uses of Ultrasound to Prenatal Test
During the course of 9 months pregnancy period, pregnant women are always recommended by their obstetrician and gynecologist or midwives to undergo an ultrasound to check the form of the baby inside the womb. It is also used to diagnose any abnormalities in the womb as well as the condition of the fetus in it. This documents the activities throughout the duration of the pregnancy for future references.
What Does Ultrasound Used to Find?
The basic purpose of ultrasound for pregnant women is to document pregnancy activities for the nine months. The following are the most common things that Ultrasound find or identify:
- Detection of the gender of the fetus.
- Possible delivery dates.
- Detection of the position of the fetus, its structure and conditions.
- Identify the number of the fetus.
- Placenta issues.
- Determine size of the baby right before the expected delivery date.
- It can also detect polyps development in and outside the uterus
- Presence of Amniotic fluids.
- Fetus morbidity and death.
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How Does Ultrasound Carried Out?
The Ultrasound or Sonography scanner uses sound waves to create images of the inside of the human body structures. A transducer or a hand-held device, is an instrument which emits high-frequency sound, but it’s impossible to hear by the human ears. The echoes of the sound waves then recorded which will help determine the shape, size and the texture of organs inside the wombs. This information will then capture into the computer and develop an image that will be seen on the screen. The images shown will be interpreted by the trained radiologist or doctors for the expectant parents.
Benefits of Ultrasound to Pregnant Women
The introduction of Ultrasound had so many advantages to expecting parents. The past decades there had been many studies showing those benefits, most were published in different Medical Journals as well as E-Newsletter. Below is just some of it:
- Probably, one of the most important benefits of the ultrasound is the joy you can see in parents’ eyes as they see the image of their baby for the first time.
- Knowing the gender of the baby is another reason pregnant mother will subject themselves to ultrasound.
- The Journal of Fatherhood suggests that, seeing the first image of their baby, expectant “father-to-be” starts to connect and think about their baby.
- Record proof of activities of the fetal development and it viability to survive.
- Identify the volume of amniotic fluid that supports and protects the life of the growing baby.
- It is used to detect abnormalities in the babies position and actions inside the womb that might lead to harmful diseases or infections to the fetus.
- The Early detection of her having twin babies with the possibility of delivering prematurely.
- Most accessible and inexpensive way of detection and diagnosing the pregnancy status.
Different Ultrasound Techniques and Methods
Since the development of ultrasound, various methods and techniques had been introduced. Below are just some of the methods that use different imaging centers that perform the ultrasounds.
- A-mode (Amplitude Mode) – This is the simplest method of performing an ultrasound.
- B-mode or 2D mode – This is a two-dimensional way of viewing the image of the body.
- 3D Ultrasound – This is the most commonly use ultrasound technique by most obstetricians and gynecologist, especially in the Developed countries. This will show the 3-dimensional picture of the growing fetus.
- 4D Ultrasound – This said to be similar to the 3D imaging but provides the real time image of the fetus.
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Other techniques in ultrasound:
- Bones Sonography
- Transvaginal Ultrasound
- Transrectal Ultrasound
- Transesophageal Echocardiogram
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Ultrasound in pregnant women has been very helpful especially for the high-risk one. This help to reduce mortality and preterm labor. Some studies even suggest that ultrasound can already detect behavior abnormalities which can lead to having a Down syndrome baby. Most studies reveal that there is an unknown risk of ultrasound to both the mother and child comparing it to CT-Scan and X-rays It does not use ionizing radiation which when dose in large amount can cause harm to the well-being of the patient.