It is an exciting day for an expectant mother when she is allowed to get a glimpse of the little baby growing within her by ultrasound. She can watch the baby’s profile as well as the beating of the tiny heart. Ultrasonography has become a useful diagnostic tool during pregnancy when fetal development can be observed with an ultrasound device. Fetal heart movements can be assessed and measurements can be made accurately using an obstetric ultrasound. Such measurements are vital in assessing the gestational age, size and growth of the fetus. The list of scans performed antenatally includes early pregnancy scan (less than 12 weeks of gestation), nuchal translucency scan (between 12 and 14 weeks), anomaly scan (between 20 and 22 weeks), fetal echocardiography (between 26 and 28 weeks), growth scan (after 28 weeks till term), obstetric and fetal Doppler and 3D/ 4D scans.
3D/4D ultrasound is a more sophisticated technology. The underlying concept is the same – sound waves travel into the abdomen and echo back from inside. However, the 4D machine collects images faster and provides a much clearer, almost lifelike three-dimensional image. 4D machines can also provide video of the baby in motion. 3D ultrasound, which is also available, provides still photos but not video.
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