Pregnancy ultrasound refers to an imaging test which is used to determine how well the fetus is developing within the womb of the pregnant woman. In this imaging test sound waves are used to track the development. Pregnancy ultrasound is also used while checking the pelvic organs of a woman.
The test requires the woman to lie down. The individual conducting the test then places a water based, clear gel on the belly and pelvic region of the woman. This gel is applied so that it can allow the probe to transmit the sound waves. The sound waves bounce of the pelvic structure in the body.
These waves bounce off the fetus and thereby help to create a picture which can then be viewed and interpreted by the ultrasound machine. Pregnancy ultrasound in some cases is also conducted by placing the probe inside the vagina and this procedure is called transvaginal ultrasound.
The woman is advised to have a full bladder since this aids in getting a good picture. It is therefore advisable for the woman to drink around 2 to 3 classes of water or other liquid around one hour before the test. The woman should also not urinate before this procedure is done. The woman may feel some amount of discomfort because of the pressure put on the bladder that is already full. The gel applied also feels cold and wet. However the ultrasound waves are not felt and so this procedure is quite simple.
Pregnancy ultrasound may be conducted if the doctor or medical health professional thinks there could be some problem in the pregnancy. Some other doctors usually recommend a routine ultrasound screening. It is advisable for women to get the direction of their doctor in this respect. Typically an ultrasound in the first trimester may be conducted to confirm that the pregnancy is normal.
Any possible problems like ectopic pregnancy or a potential miscarriage can also be identified with the help of the ultrasound. Multiple pregnancies can be identified along with other possible problems such as those involving the uterus, pelvis and placenta. Finally the ultrasound can also help in assessing age of the baby along with the heart rate.
Pregnancy ultrasound in the second and the third trimesters can be conducted to determine any developmental problems and also to determine the position, growth of the baby and its age. Amniotic fluid, pelvis and placenta are also evaluated with the ultrasound. The number of scans that the doctor will schedule depends on the status of the earlier scan and whether any problem was detected in that scan.
Normal results in pregnancy ultrasound indicate that the fetus along with the associated pelvic structure is normal for the gestational age. It is advisable for the pregnant woman and her partner to discuss the specifics of the case with the doctor.
In case the pregnancy ultrasound reflects abnormal results it could direct towards a variety of issues and possible problems. An abnormal scan may include possible birth defects or a case of ectopic pregnancy. The scan could also reflect a possibility of multiple pregnancies or possibility of a miscarriage. T
here may a case of intrauterine growth retardation or the problem may be with the position of the baby. Other problems such as placenta abruption or placenta previa may also be reflected. Tumors, problems with amniotic fluid and problems with the uterus and ovaries may also be reflected.
Many women are concerned about the effect of the pregnancy ultrasound on their unborn child. There is no real documented effect of the current ultra sound technique used and its risk to the women and the babies. However this procedure can be done quite easily since it does not involve any radiation.