Obstetric Ultrasound - Noninvasive Imaging Method to Track the Progress of the Pregnancy
An obstetric ultrasound, also known as a prenatal ultrasound scan is the application of medical ultrasonography to obstetrics, in which sonography is used to visualize the embryo or foetus in the uterus. It is considered to be a very useful diagnostic tool in Obstetrics as it yields information regarding the health of the mother and of the fetus, and also about the progress of the pregnancy.
The Different Types of Obstetric Ultrasound Are:
- Transvaginal sonography: To provide clearer pictures during early pregnancy.
- Doppler sonography: To detect the heartbeat of the fetus and also to evaluate the pulsations in the fetal heart and bloods vessels for signs of abnormalities.
Nowadays, real time scanners are used with which a continuous picture of the moving fetus can be depicted on the monitor. Very high frequency sound waves (between 3.5 to 7.0 megahertz) are generally used for this purpose. These waves are emitted from a transducer which is placed in the maternal abdomen. The ultrasound beams reflected back onto the same transducer are recomposed back into a picture on the monitor screen. A full bladder is required for the procedure when abdominal scanning is done in early pregnancy.
Some of the Common Applications of Obstetric Ultrasound Are As Given Below:
- For confirming the stage of the pregnancy
- To evaluate the position of the fetus
- To identify if there are multiple pregnancies
- To check the position of the placenta
- To check the amount of amniotic fluid
- To assess the physical development of the foetus
During sonography, a water based gel is applied to the site of the body being studied to ensure secure contact between the transducer and the body and to eliminate air pockets. The radiologist firmly places it against the skin and sweeps it over the area of interest.
Obstetric Ultrasound is a widely accepted noninvasive imaging method.