The Benefits of Having Ultrasound Tests During Pregnancy

Posted on: 11 January 2018

The radiology department at your hospital or medical clinic has several options for taking images of your body. The ultrasound is one example. Ultrasounds are used to examine many parts of the body including the heart, liver, kidneys, eyes, and bladder. Another common use for ultrasound imaging is for monitoring the growth and development of your baby when you're pregnant. These are reasons why an ultrasound is useful during pregnancy.

To Date the Baby's Age Accurately

Your doctor can estimate how far along you are and when the baby is due based on the date of your last menstrual cycle. If you've had an irregular cycle or you are unsure when your last cycle started, then an ultrasound will give your doctor a more accurate estimation of age. This is one reason an ultrasound is done early in pregnancy. Your baby is large enough in the first trimester enough to have measurements taken, and then the age can be determined and your due date more accurately predicted.

To Check for Twins

Another reason an ultrasound is usually done in early pregnancy is to check for twins. Sometimes twins take moms by surprise, but it's best to know in advance when twins are coming. This helps you prepare for the appearance of two babies instead of one, and it helps your doctor tailor your care and monitor your health more closely since you'll be carrying twins. You may have ultrasounds more often as your pregnancy progresses to monitor the growth of the twins to make sure no problems develop.

To Find Health Problems

An ultrasound can detect certain health problems while your child is still in the womb. Knowing problems may arise after birth helps you prepare so you can have the resources and equipment needed. Some heart conditions may even need to be treated as soon as your baby is born, so knowing there is a problem allows the medical staff to have equipment and staff ready to go as soon as your baby is born. Some problems may not be spotted on an initial ultrasound, so doctors sometimes order a second test when your baby is further developed. If problems are found or suspected, you may have additional testing.

To Determine the Gender

While ultrasounds are not done specifically to find out the gender of your baby, finding out early is often a nice benefit. However, if you prefer to be surprised, the gender can remain secret until you give birth. In the same way, keepsake photos aren't a reason to have an ultrasound, but getting copies of the images when tests are done is exciting.

Ultrasound tests have been performed on pregnant women for decades and they are considered safe for both mother and baby. You don't have to worry about undergoing one of these tests. Although they are administered by the radiology department in hospitals and clinics, they don't emit radiation. Instead, they create pictures using sound waves. They are safe to use and be around. They are so safe, your doctor may even have an ultrasound machine in the office so your baby can be checked during an office visit.

To learn more about radiology, contact services like Levi Hospital.