One of the great things about technology today, with regard to women’s health, is obstetric ultrasound. This technological wonder allows doctors to determine what is going on inside a person’s body without the use of invasive procedures or x-rays.
Obstetric ultrasound can help identify health, or the lack there of, in blood flow, organs and their function, and if you’re pregnant, it allows them and you to see the incredible wonder going on inside your body. This is a magnificent event and gives you your first look at your baby. Generally, you can see almost everything from the formation of body parts to the baby’s little heart beat.
Obstetric ultrasound is also helpful in discovering possible complications and allows the doctor to make appropriate adjustments and preparations in the care of both you and the baby in order to keep you both healthy throughout your pregnancy and delivery. Medical advancement in other areas help decrease negative situations and in some cases can help avoid them all together if they are identified early through the ultrasound.
The procedure is simple and comfortable. The radiologist or doctor will expose your abdomen and squirt a little bit of gel on it. Then they take a small object, similar to a computer mouse or small microphone called a transducer and run it around your tummy until they find the image they are looking for. The screen to which the transducer is attached, gives them the picture and then the computer, which is also attached, gives different information based on what the doctor needs to know. The information gathered helps the doctor determine the health of the baby, the size of the baby, predicts a slightly more accurate due date, and in some cases, if the obstetric ultrasound is done after the first tri-mester, you may have the opportunity to see the sex of the baby.
Ultrasound cannot detect certain abnormalities such as mental retardation and other various disabilities but, as previously mentioned, it can alert a doctor to a possible issue and cause them to further investigate through amniocentesis and other tests.
Obstetric ultrasound is painless for most people, although some who have a sensitive area around their abdomen may experience some minor discomfort due to the fact that the transducer must be pressed into the skin firmly for an image to show up. They may also have some difficulty finding the baby at first, due to it’s constant movement in the uterus. There is also a possibility that an internal ultrasound may need to be performed if you’re in the very first few weeks of the pregnancy and the doctor needs to identify the viability of the fetus signaled by various factors involved such as your medical history or unexpected experiences during that time. This procedure is slightly more uncomfortable but no more than a yearly pelvic exam.
All in all, this procedure is not only helpful but can be one of the most tender moments you’ll share as you enjoy your first look at your precious miracle.