What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound is the use of high frequency sound waves to view inside the body. When used in this way, it is referred to as an ultrasound scan.
Why is it used in pregnancy?
Ultrasound is used in pregnancy to view the developing fetus and check for possible problems. There are four main indications for its use in pregnancy:
· To check when your baby is due
· To see if your baby is developing normally
· To check the position of the placenta (afterbirth)
· To see if you are expecting twins, triplets or more.
What happens during a scan?
Oil or jelly is first rubbed over your abdomen. Then, a hand held instrument known as a transducer is passed backwards and forwards across your abdomen. The resulting picture of your baby is displayed on a television screen.
Will it hurt?
Having a scan is painless. However, you may be asked to make sure you have a full bladder whilst you are being scanned. This can be a little uncomfortable when you are pregnant.
Is it safe?
Ultrasound has been used in pregnancy for many years without any evidence that it is harmful to either you or your baby. However, it is possible that it causes minor damage that long-term studies have yet to identify. If you are worried about this, don’t have a scan unless it is essential.