Pregnancy is a beautiful part of womanhood. During this period, many women undergo certain tests to ensure that the growing baby stays healthy. Sadly, many shy away from going for ultrasounds, and the reasons are apparent-myths. Despite the unending debate on prenatal ultrasounds’ safety, these are valuable tools for monitoring the baby’s health.
Check out reasons to do a prenatal ultrasound:
- Dating pregnancy
Determining the exact gestational age can be difficult if using conventional dating procedures. An ultrasound comes in handy in such cases. It’s highly accurate and a great way of dating a pregnancy. The procedure provides an appropriate estimate of the gestational age, with an accuracy range of five to seven days.
- Diagnosing congenital disabilities
An ultrasound performed after 16- 20 weeks along the pregnancy can detect major congenital disabilities like spina bifida, heart defects, and kidney problems. The doctor may also perform Non Invasive Prenatal Testing to analyze the risks of down syndrome, Patau syndrome, and Edward’s syndrome. The test involves blood samples and is mostly performed alongside a scan to predict the fetal age and cases of multiple pregnancies.
- Growth monitoring
An ultrasound is an excellent way to monitor the growth and health of your growing baby. An ultrasound detects any anomalies and determines whether you and your baby are okay. It helps prevent various issues if done early.
It can recognize abnormal features like a cleft palate and heart defects. Although the ultrasound may not identify all the problems during a baby’s development, the procedure is very useful in diagnosing various prenatal abnormalities and assuring parents that the baby is normally thriving.
- Checking fetal heartbeat
An ultrasound is a potent tool for finding the baby’s fetal heartbeat. The two types of ultrasounds used are; abdominal ultrasound and transvaginal ultrasound. Both are useful in prenatal care with varying levels of accuracy. Ultrasounds will also detect multiple pregnancies.
Transvaginal ultrasounds- These procedures generate clear images to help the doctor establish the pregnancy timeline and health. What’s more? The process detects the baby’s heartbeat as early as six weeks after pregnancy.
An abdominal ultrasound is also commonly used and detects the fetal heartbeat at about 7-8 weeks of pregnancy.
- Determining the baby’s sex
An ultrasound gives an accurate prediction of the baby’s sex and size if done rightly. Most women use this prediction to shop and prepare adequately for the baby’s arrival. If you’re doing the ultrasound to plan delivery, do it at the midpoint of pregnancy or after for more accurate results. Ultrasounds performed early in the pregnancy may have low accuracy levels and will likely provide incorrect results.
Are prenatal ultrasounds safe?
All medical procedures have a certain degree of risk. However, there’s no evidence to prove that prenatal ultrasounds can harm the unborn baby or the mother if performed rightly. It’s ten critical to have the ultrasound performed by a sonographer or a physician.
Prenatal ultrasounds are associated with many perks. Seeing your growing baby and knowing that all is well can be fulfilling. If you’re expectant and not gone for any prenatal ultrasound, discuss this with your doctor, and they will advise you on when and where to do it.