When you are pregnant, you are attuned to the slightest movement and flutter that your baby makes. It is an affirmation of your baby’s health and growth when you feel it kicking inside you.
But apart from your belly growing in size and your body weight increasing, how can you tell if your baby is growing normally in your womb? Is there a way to know if his organs are growing properly, if his weight is commensurate with his overall size, if there are any underlying problems you are not aware of?
Yes, there is. You can find out how your baby is faring inside your womb through a pregnancy ultrasound. In simple terms, it is a moving ‘photograph’ of your baby that helps the doctor see the exact size and shape of your baby on a special screen. It is safe to use on both mother and child. It captures an image of the baby the same way as an X-ray, however it uses sound waves to capture the picture instead of radiation.
The pregnancy ultrasound lets the doctor assess the baby’s growth level, how far his organs are developing, and what his position inside the uterus is. By the end of the first trimester, the ultrasound can even reveal the sex of the baby since it is able to detect the growth of genitalia. The heart beat may also be heard quite clearly. Further, it can help the doctor see whether the placenta position is right, if there are any abnormal growths inside the uterus near or adjoining the baby, or if there are any abnormalities within the mother’s uterus or Fallopian tubes.
Before going for the ultrasound test, you will be told to arrive with a full bladder so that the images come out sharper. A clear gel is applied on the lower abdomen and a probe is moved around the belly to pick up the images. The procedure takes about 30 minutes till the technician performs a complete examination. In case of suspected foetal distress, your doctor will order further pregnancy tests for better information of the situation.