Important Information About Different Types Of Ultrasounds Used During Pregnancy

As an expectant parent, seeing images of your unborn child is usually an incredibly emotional experience. Although ultrasounds, also known as sonograms, are typically an expected part of obstetrics now, it was not invented until the 1950's and did not become a popular part of maternity care in the United States until the 1970's. However, since then it has expanded greatly and now pregnant women often have the option of accessing one or more types of ultrasounds during their pregnancy.

Do You Understand Early Ultrasounds?

If there is a question about dating the pregnancy or other prenatal concerns, an ultrasound during the first trimester is often needed. Because the fetus, placenta and uterus are so small at that time, a vaginal ultrasound is frequently recommended.

An early ultrasound is typically a diagnostic tool. A transducer attached to a probe is placed vaginally and sound waves are introduced into the uterus. It is often possible, even with a standard ultrasound, to see the baby sucking its thumb and moving at this visit. The pictures you get will be black and white.

Those sound waves form a picture, which allows the technician to:

  • Note any abnormalities

  • Measure the size of the baby

  • Date the age of the pregnancy to determine a due date

  • Check for more than one baby

What About Standard Ultrasounds Later On?

It is a fairly common practice to receive more than one ultrasound throughout the pregnancy. As the pregnancy gets further along, you may need another standard ultrasound. It provides some of the same benefits as earlier ultrasounds, but now the transducer is placed over your abdomen to get the pictures.

Sonograms from the second trimester and beyond can often:

  • Determine the gender and weight of the baby

  • The positioning of the placenta

  • Amount of fluid within the uterus

  • Find some birth defects

Although it is a beautiful experience, it is not as sophisticated as 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds.

Are You Looking Forward To 3D Imaging Of The Baby?

3D ultrasounds are usually considered to be a luxury experience that is amazing to watch, but rarely needed for medical reasons. It still uses sound waves, but different technology, so that you can see everything much more clearly.

As previously mentioned, standard ultrasounds allow you to see movement and thumb-sucking, while 3D images allow you to see clear facial gestures and features. Unfortunately, it is not always covered by health insurance plans, since standard ultrasounds are less expensive and provide much of the same information about the pregnancy.

And What About 4D Ultrasounds?

If being able to say that the new baby definitely has her mother's chin or her dad's ears is a wonderful experience, being able to see a video of the baby's existence in the womb during the procedure is even more so. The benefit of being able to see the baby's movement is the primary difference between 3D and 4D ultrasounds.

If you are interested in a 3D or 4D ultrasound, be sure to talk with your physician to determine the best time to get it and whether or not it is appropriate for your situation. In addition, you will need to choose the right time to schedule it, as images before 20 weeks and after 32 weeks do not always allow the best images due to sizing and positioning issues.

In conclusion, ultrasounds are a vital aspect of standard, modern maternity care today. By knowing what to expect, you can plan accordingly when you see your unborn son or daughter. Contact a center like EVDI Medical Imaging for more information.