Can Ultrasound Harm Your Baby Inside The Uterus? Expert Explains

Here is everything you need to know about ultrasound imaging technique and how safe it is for your growing fetus.

Charu Sharma
Written by: Charu SharmaUpdated at: Jan 04, 2022 18:36 IST
Can Ultrasound Harm Your Baby Inside The Uterus? Expert Explains

Pregnancy is a time of a woman’s life where it is not just the belly that grows out, but the body as a whole experiences various changes. People tend to be extra cautious during the time of pregnancy as it is not just her but a little life that is being nurtured inside her body as well. To keep a check on the mother and baby’s health, many medical tests and examinations are carried out. Out of these tests, ultrasound is an imaging technique that is used to produce the images of the fetus inside the uterus. Ultrasound technique uses sound waves to produce the images and create pictures of various organs and tissues. Where this is a very common imaging technique used by the experts during pregnancy, many women are concerned about its effect on their growing fetus. 

If you are someone who has been thinking about the same thing day and night then this is a must read for you. Here is everything you need to know about ultrasound imaging technique and how safe it is for your growing fetus with Dr. Amina Khalid, Obstetrician Gynecologist, MBBS, MD. 

What is an ultrasound?

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Also known as sonography, diagnostic ultrasound is a medical imaging technique that uses high frequency waves in order to produce the structural images of your body parts. These images are used for the diagnostic information about a patient as it helps to look into the internal organs of the patient. This ultrasound imaging technique is used at many occasions such as-

  • To inspect the thyroid glands
  • In order to assess joint inflammation
  • Evaluate blood flow
  • Diagnosis of gallbladder disease
  • Examine breast lumps and 
  • For cyst detection
  • to monitor a baby’s health and development during pregnancy

These ultrasound examinations work by sending waves through the mothers body to get the images of development and movements of the fetus. These ultrasounds help to observe and detect any abnormality or defects in fetal movements before birth. 

How do they work?

We know about what ultrasounds or medical sonography actually are and we have also learnt about the conditions in which they are used. To understand how safe this diagnosis technique is for your baby, one needs to know how it actually works?

Image Credits-Today's Parent

The ultrasound or sonography is a procedure that goes on for about 30 minutes. Your health practitioner might start it by rubbing some gel-like substance onto your belly and abdomen region.  This is then followed by moving a transducer wand over the abdominal region to create the images of the fetus. These images can be seen as live moving pictures on the screen which helps the doctors to get information about the baby's development, growth and movement inside the uterus. 

Ultrasound used in pregnancy works by converting the electric signals into sound waves that then pass through the layers of the skin and reflect back to the probe.

Is It safe?

Image Credits- Complete physio

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Ultrasound is an imaging technique that works by converting the electric signals into sound waves that seep through the layers of tissues and create images onto the screen. Ultrasounds or sonography are said to be a safe technique for creating the images of internal organs as unlike x-rays and CT scans, it does not emit any traditions that can harm a mother’s and baby’s health. Where ultrasounds are said to be relatively safer than x-rays and ct-scans as they do not emit any radiation, the catch is that these heat waves tend to heat up the tissues  a little. The heating up of these tissues might have some effects on your growing fetus. 

Precautions to be taken

As said that the heat produced during this procedure might affect the growing fetus inside, one needs to follow some precautions to stay safe and keep the baby safe as well. Here are a few precautions as suggested by Dr. Amina Khalid-

  • Tend towards a qualified professional doctor who knows how much energy levels are required so that it does not goes overboard
  • Unnecessary exposure to ultrasound energy should be avoided
  • Ultrasound treatment should only be performed for medical indicative purposes.

One can not completely avoid going through an ultrasound or sonography diagnosis during pregnancy as it plays a major role in identifying the abnormalities, growth, development and well being of the fetus. This early detection technique is also helpful in preventing any mishaps or problems in the coming future. 

This article is based upon a post by Dr. Amina Khalid, Obstetrician Gynecologist, MBBS, MD on her instagram handle ‘granikahealth’