Most women are aware of the fact that ultrasounds are used to monitor fetal progress and determine your baby's conception date and gender. But medical science has pushed past the familiar blurry gray image of the traditional ultrasound, and modern technology has made it possible to see the finest details of your baby months before it leaves the womb, including catching early signs of serious medical conditions. These are just three of the most important things your obstetrician can show you as you progress through your routine ultrasounds and pregnancy.
Watching for Chromosomal Abnormalities
One component of many fetal ultrasounds performed at 11 or 13 weeks is the nuchal translucency test. During this test, your obstetrician will examine the fluid-filled tissue developing along the back of your baby's neck. Although some fluid is normal and essential for healthy growth, too much is one of the first indicators of a rare chromosomal abnormality like Down syndrome. By identifying the risk early, your obstetrician will be able to monitor your baby's progress more closely and allow you to prepare for the future with as much information as possible.
Examining the Heart and Tracking Blood Flow
If your baby does not seem to be growing as expected, your doctor may examine the heart and blood flow to ensure that oxygen and nutrients are being transported adequately. Ultrasounds are easily capable of picking up a fetal heartbeat, but it is also possible for your obstetrician to measure the direction and speed of your baby's blood flow through a procedure known as a Doppler scan. Furthermore, the advent of 3D fetal imaging has made it possible to add another dimension to the Doppler scan, meaning a volumetric analysis of your baby's circulation is now also available. All of this is done to ensure that your baby's heart and circulatory system is working as intended.
Imaging Your Baby's Face and Measurements
Of course, 3D ultrasound is also valuable in that it can show your baby's skin and facial features instead of just the internal organs and silhouette. This can help screen for deformities like a cleft palate, but it also lets you become familiar with your child long before you give birth. Adding another dimension to your ultrasound makes it possible to accurately measure your baby's dimensions, including limb length, weight and overall development. You may even be able to opt for 4D imaging, which sustains a 3D ultrasound over time to create a video of your baby moving within the womb. With every tiny detail of your baby now available to be seen, ultrasound technology has greatly expanded options for diagnosis and treatment of disorders pre-term, as well as simply giving you peace of mind when each of these tests comes back normal. Go to website for more information.