Fetal Ultrasound Machines 101
Fetal ultrasound machines are used commonly these days even when there are no pregnancy complications or fetal abnormalities present. A fetal ultrasound allows you to review your baby's profile and condition in 3D or 4D pictures. Health care providers can also evaluate the growth and development of the fetus and make the necessary actions to ensure safe and successful pregnancy. Here is more information on the technology.
Uses of Fetal Ultrasound
Routine ultrasounds can confirm whether a person is really pregnant, as well as the current location of the developing fetus. Some embryos will grow in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. The examination can help the health professional find out the exact location and treat ectopic or tubal pregnancy before it threatens the mother's health. The baby's gestational age can also be determined accurately. The due date of delivery and different milestones of the pregnancy can also be determined. Wanting to know the baby's gender does not spur doctors to immediately recommend ultrasound.
A fetal ultrasound machine can help you determine the number of babies present should you have a multiple pregnancy. Other possible complications regarding multiple pregnancy can be greatly avoided by early viewing. The baby's growth and development can be seen as well. Features such as the baby's breathing, heart rate and movement can be determined. The placenta can be studied to know whether it is providing enough oxygen and nutrients to the baby.
More Uses of Fetal Ultrasound Machines
Ultrasound examination can screen for the presence of Down's syndrome. It can be done during the 11th or up to the 14th week of pregnancy to initially screen for this problem. Blood tests will also be required. Early detection can greatly prevent the development of mental retardation and other problems. The ultrasound will be used by the physician to measure specific parts of the baby's neck.
The procedure can also check for the presence of bleeding and other signs and symptoms. The main cause can be determined using ultrasound.
Other prenatal tests will also require ultrasound to properly guide other procedures. For example, ultrasound will be used to help needle placement during an amniocentesis. A sample of amniotic fluid for certain genetic problems or placenta testing is sometimes needed, thus requiring the use of ultrasound.
Different Kinds of Fetal Ultrasound
Standard ultrasound provides 2D images to help determine the baby's gestational age, growth and development. This takes about 20 minutes.
Advanced ultrasound is used to find problems in the body, using more advanced equipment. This takes anywhere between 30 minutes and several hours. 3D ultrasound provides 3D images to help health professionals assess images from advanced ultrasounds.
Doppler imaging uses the Doppler effect to get details about circulation for cases like high blood pressure and slow fetal growth.
Transvaginal ultrasound machines involve a thin wand-like device which is inserted into the vagina to send sound waves that will collect reflections. It is often used during early pregnancy, when the fallopian tubes and uterus are still located near the vagina, as opposed to being performed atop the abdominal surface.
Fetal echocardiography gives a clear picture of the baby's heart. It can determine the presence of congenital heart defect.
Fetal ultrasound machines can be used anytime during the pregnancy. Routine fetal ultrasound is conducted anywhere between 18 and 20 weeks, when body organs are still very visible.
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