Fetal Ultrasound: More Important for Baby Than You Think

For expectant parents, ultrasound day is an important milestone of the pregnancy. Usually done between the eighteenth and twentieth week of pregnancy, this is often the first and last look parents will get of baby until delivery. For some parents, part of the excitement is due in part to the fact that they will finally know the sex of their unborn baby. The majority of expectant parents choose to find out now, so they can have everything well prepared,rather than waiting until the baby is born. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of seeing the baby and finding out its gender, but it is important to remember the real purpose of the ultrasound, determing your baby’s well being.

Fetal ultrsound is a great diagnostic tool available to physicians, which helps them make sure everything is going well, and that there are no potential problems with the fetus. By becoming aware of any potential problems early on, it can help your obstetrician make better decisions for both expectant mom and baby. The ultrasound tech will examine all parts of your baby, and take measurements to make sure everything is normal. They check for cleft palate, any missing digits, spinal problems, and can even detect any heart abnormalities. By taking measurements of the fetus, a more accurate due date can also be determined based on the size of the fetus. Later, ultrasound may be used in determining if baby is positioned correctly for birth, or in doing an amniocentesis to determine lung maturity.

With the advances we have in modern technology today, if a probelm is seen on the ultrasound, depending on what it is and its severity, your doctor may be able to repair it while the fetus is still in utero, or refer you to a doctor that can. In the event of a major problem, having the ultrasound early allows the parents more time to prepare themselves to handle it once the baby is born, rather than not knowing, and having to deal with the medical issues and a new baby at the same time.

Rest assured, most expectant parents walk away from the ultrasound thrilled that they have seen their baby, happy that it is healthy, and excited about the new addition to the family. More often than not, ultrasound eases the fear many new parents face of something being wrong. Seeing the baby moving around on the ultrasound, watching his heartbeat, is a definite way to ease any apprehension you may be feeling, and excite you about your upcoming arrival. In most cases, the ultrasound tech will print off some pictures for you, so you can show off your new addition, and put them in the baby book or photo album to have for years to come. In some places, you can have the ultrasound tech tape the ultrasound for you, or may take a video camera to have your husband record it for you. Check with your hospital or doctor to see what the rules are concering this.

Please remember that I am not a doctor, just a mother of three children, and that this article by no means should be considered medical advice. Research does show that ultrasound is an important tool, and that most pregnant women should have one to ensure the safety of their baby, but you should always discuss any concerns or fears with your doctor.

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