What is an ultrasound?
An ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging scan that allows your body’s structures and tissues to be observed; they can be used to monitor an unborn baby, diagnose a condition or guide a surgeon during specific procedures.
How do ultrasound scans work?
A small probing device is used to produce high-frequency sound waves generating images of organs and tissues inside the body – a probe or transducer emits these sound waves.
These sound waves can’t be heard; however, when they bounce off different parts of the body, they create “echoes” picked up by the probe and turned into a moving image – which is displayed on a monitor while the scan is carried out.
What are the different types of Ultrasounds?
Traditional ultrasound scans create a 2D image; however, modern technology combines data from images taken by the probe from different angles.
Opposed to the traditional 2D images during pregnancy, a 3D ultrasound allows you to see three-dimensional images of your baby in the womb, whilst with 4D equipment, the image is constantly updated in real-time, and you can see your baby moving in video motion.
What’s their purpose and advantages?
The purpose of this during pregnancy is to observe the status and development of the foetus without exposing it to radiation. The advantages of 4D ultrasound are that in showing the developing baby in three dimensions and motion, it is not only much clearer to see the baby, but also makes it easier for doctors to diagnose any developmental problems, such as a cleft lip, which may be harder to spot on a standard 2D ultrasound.
The best time for a 4D ultrasound is usually between weeks 24-30 of pregnancy as this is the perfect time to see the baby reasonably well-developed, before it has grown to a substantial amount that cannot be seen properly on the scan.
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