Ultrasound Scans during Pregnancy
Ultrasound in Pregnancy - Ultrasound scans during pregnancy are needed to monitor foetal growth in the first, second and third trimester. Pregnancy ultrasound images are created using sound waves
Images received after ultrasound scans during pregnancy are a source of delight for the expecting mom and dad. The frequency of sound waves is used to depict the foetus in the womb. Doctors need it to monitor foetal development but you get to see your baby. You should know how this equipment is helpful in evaluating the growth of your baby.
Uses of Ultrasound in Pregnancy
- Crown-rump Length (CRL) Measurement – It is needed for determining gestational age when women cannot remember the end of their last menstrual cycle. It is useful for determination of conception. This measurement is taken between the 7th and 13th week and it can estimated due date quite early in pregnancy.
- Femur Length (FL) Measurement – Femur is the name given to the thigh bone, the longest bone in the body. The growth of this bone in the foetus is a very good indication of its longitudinal development. It is observed after 13 weeks of pregnancy and measures 1.5 centimetres at the initial stage of its development.
- Biparietal Diameter (BPD) Measurement – The length between two sides of the head of foetus is measured after 13 weeks. Generally, the foetus size is around 2.4 centimetres. It can be used to find gestational age but only in the early stages of pregnancy.
- Abdominal Circumference (AC) Measurement – This is done in the later stage of pregnancy to decide about the weight and height of the baby. It is important for monitoring the baby’s growth.
Uses of Ultrasound in Pregnancy
Ultrasound is needed to monitor foetal development and detect possibilities of complications for the mother.
- In the first trimester, heart health of the baby is monitored after confirming pregnancy.
- In the second trimester, the overall growth of the foetus is under evaluation to check for abnormal growth or deformities. Sex can also be determined at this stage. It has been made illegal in India because of rampant female foeticide.
- In the third trimester, the position of the baby for normal delivery and the position of the placenta are monitored to ensure normal birth.
Some negative effects of ultrasound in pregnancy and the foetus have also been feared of late. The sound waves that are used in ultrasound can increase the flow of blood to the womb leading to rise in temperature. Gas can also form which places the woman at a risk of miscarriage, premature birth or having a stillborn baby. However, the benefits of having an ultrasound outweigh the risk of damages.
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Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Aug 04, 2011
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