When you are pregnant you are bound to draw the attention and advice of nearly everyone you know and even some people you don’t. Some will tell you about avoiding fish, others will tell you about natural childbirth, and on and on. One of the things you might be worried about is the prenatal ultrasound exam.
During the ultrasound exam, the care provider will ask you to come to the clinic with a full bladder. This will make the image clearer. During the exam, the clinician will rub a lubricant on your stomach and slide a piece of equipment called a transducer around on your skin. The transducer sends sonic waves into your abdomen, which are the reflected back and different rates and speeds. This information is then translated into an image on a nearby monitor.
Mothers going through an ultrasound may experience some discomfort due to the full bladder or the technician pressing on their abdomen. Beyond that, the ultrasound is considered a very safe, very low-risk procedure for both the mother and her unborn child.
The procedure is non-invasive and does not use any radiation. You may have heard some talk about the sonic energy transforming into heat, which could affect the health of the fetus. The Federal Food and Drug Administration has strict guidelines on how much energy an ultrasound machine can produce, so you do not need to worry about that.
Occasionally, some non-medical facilities will offer ultrasounds for the purposes of keepsake photos and videos. Again, the procedure itself is perfectly safe for both the mother and her unborn child, but some doctors recommend against these unnecessary procedures because annon-medically trained technician might miss something important or give the patient a false sense of hope if they do not notice that something is wrong.
Prenatal ultrasounds are safe at any point during the pregnancy. For most pregnancies, there will be only one ultrasound exam, conducted when the mother is around 18-20 weeks. During this exam, the care provider checks on the position and size of the fetus, and can even determine the sex. Ultrasounds during the first trimester are also common. An ultrasound can help date the pregnancy or check for multiples if there is a family history.
While most pregnancies only require the one ultrasound exam, it is perfectly safe to have more. Your doctor may recommend against more exams only because it is still medical procedure that takes time and costs money.
There may be many things to worry about when you are pregnant, but the ultrasound exam is not one of them. It is a very safe procedure that allows you to meet your baby for the first time and ensure that everything is progressing nicely. If you feel like you need another exam, be sure to check with your doctor and go over all of your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Your doctor can then decide the best course of action. Have a happy pregnancy!
This post was written for Really Missing Sleep by Glenn Josephik. Glenn is an account representative and the marketing coordinator at MedCorp LLC, the industry leader and premier business source for used ultrasound systems. You can follow Glenn Josephik on Google+.