Pregnancy is one of the most wonderful parts of our lives, filled with the enthusiasm related to the awaiting of the birth of our children, and all the joys this change holds in store for us. However, it is also the time of caution and worrying, since the baby needs to be healthy and well. In order for women to give birth to healthy babies, they need to lead a healthy lifestyle and eat the right types of food, avoiding everything that might be harmful.
Yet, even though all these positive steps contribute to the baby's health, they still are not capable of allowing one to see the progress of development of the fetus, resting assured that everything is in order. Fortunately, with today's modern technological breakthroughs, like the 3D ultrasound, this is possible.
Ultrasound During Pregnancy
The 3D ultrasound is a medical technique used during pregnancy, allowing one to obtain digital images of the fetus in all three dimensions. However, due to the versatility this device possesses, various types of images can be made. Most commonly, in medical facilities, a standard, 2D ultrasound is used for monitoring a person's pregnancy.
Yet, the 3D ultrasound is better than this method since it involves sending sound signals straight down, reflecting them back in the process and sending them at different angles. Once the signals are sent, the computer generates a 3D image of the fetus, along with the internal organs. The image is practically the same as the one from a CT scan, even though 3D ultrasound is considered to be a much healthier alternative, due to the absence of harmful radiation.
Note that this form of ultrasound can also be used on other parts of the body. Nevertheless, the best results are achieved when applying this scanning for the process of fetal monitoring.
Until this day, there have been no researches which have concluded that 3D ultrasound scanning can cause harm to the fetus, even though media and many laymen around the world may have theories which beg to differ, bearing no scientific proof.
Either way, people use the 3D ultrasound to obtain images of their fetus after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Additionally, once the 20th week has passed, this form of scanning allows one to know the sex of his/her child. Some ultrasound facilities may claim that they can determine the sex of the fetus as early as after the 15th week of pregnancy. However, rest assured that this may not be possible. After the 16th week, the situation changes, and the chances of determining the sex of the child rise to 99%.
Regardless, the time between 24 and 32 weeks is the best for undergoing 3D ultrasound scanning. Keep in mind that after the 32nd week, the fetus may have already moved into the pelvic area, making it hard to obtain satisfying images.
As for matters of precaution before you undergo this procedure, do not hold your urine or come to the doctor with a full bladder. Rather, consume about 32 ounces of water daily, two weeks before the imaging, allowing enough amniotic fluid around the fetus, keeping this substance clear. Keep in mind that water excessively will not contribute to the clearness or sharpness of the 3D ultrasound image.
3D Ultrasound Risks and Benefits
Speaking of risks related to this procedure, as it was mentioned above, when the process is carried out correctly, there are none. However, the duration of the scanning and the intensity of the sound waves used, along with the frequency of sessions can all be factors which, when exceeding the healthy limits, can present a potential health threat.
Even though there are no limits related to the 3D ultrasound exposure, most doctors agree that a single session should not exceed 1 hour. As for the intensity, the FDA prevents any anomalies through pre-installing detectors inside the ultrasound devices, allowing the health experts to known when the levels are too high. Usually, higher intensity of ultrasound waves are needed for detecting the baby's heartbeats.
As for the frequency, one session a month is a recommended limit.
Speaking of benefits of the 3D ultrasound testing, these are related to confirming the very pregnancy and its location, determining the pregnancy milestones according to the gestational age, finding out information about the number of babies in your womb, monitoring the growth of the fetus, examining the placenta, noticing certain anomalies affecting the fetus, assessing the need for a C-section depending on the position of the baby and performing various other forms of tests.
Thus, all the positive sides and usages of 3D ultrasound surpass these several potential dangers and these devices are priceless as far as fetal monitoring and health are concerned.
All in all, 3D ultrasound during pregnancy is an incredibly valuable method which helps many parents and health experts to give birth and deliver healthy, happy babies. Even though there are several risks vaguely related to the process, these can be avoided through following the instructions for the procedure.
Thus, during your pregnancy, as early as after the 15th week, 3D ultrasound can give you plenty of information about the health and many other facts regarding your child, helping you relax and rest assured that everything is going at its natural course.