For many couples the first image of their tiny peanut is often one of the greatest joys of pregnancy. Seeing their tiny baby before it is even born is an experience that is both wonderful and relieving. Many people often worry about their unborn child because they can not see it to make sure that everything is going well and as hoped. Thankfully, ultrasounds are routine procedures in prenatal care that give doctors necessary information and parents a view of their growing baby.
Prenatal ultrasounds are exams that uses high frequency sound waves to scan a woman’s abdomen and pelvic cavity to create a picture of the baby and placenta. If a woman finds out very early on that she is pregnant, a transvaginal ultrasound is done. This ultrasound uses a specially designed probe inside the vagina to generate sonogram pictures. Because the baby is so small and because the uterus has not grown much during the very early stages of pregnancy, this transvaginal ultrasound will give the best picture of the womb. Standard ultrasounds are done between 16-20 weeks of pregnancy. These ultrasounds are done on the abdomen to produce 2D images of the growing baby and uterus.
For women with any sort of “high risk” label, advanced ultrasounds are done. These ultrasounds are very similar to a standard ultrasound, but these exams target specific areas where a problem has been indicated. More sophisticated equipment is used and often 3D and 4D images are produced. For babies that have indicators of any issues of heart development and function, fetal echocardiography will be used to asses the heart anatomy and function.
For most couples, ultrasounds are the high light of pregnancy. Putting an image to their baby often helps to make the pregnancy “real” – especially to the fathers who do not experience the regular symptoms of pregnancy. With routine prenatal care and ultrasounds, women and their babies are well cared for throughout their pregnancies.
Posted on behalf of Carlos Alarcon, M.D., Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.