A private ultrasound scan is something most pregnant women will have at least once or twice during their pregnancy. When the ultrasound scan is done varies from doctor to doctor, but usually one is performed around 12 weeks to confirm pregnancy and then another done at 20 weeks to make sure the foetus is developing properly and to determine the sex. If there are possible complications or more than one foetus, then more ultrasounds will be performed.
When an ultrasound scan is performed at 20 weeks, the physician will be able to determine if there are any complications such as the size and position of the placenta, the amount of amniotic fluid and the general physical development of the foetus. In the case of placenta previa, where the placenta may be covering the cervix, an ultrasound can be life saving for both the mother and baby.
Many women question the safety of the private ultrasound scan and wonder if it will have ill-effects on their baby. There have been many studies done on this subject, and the consensus shows that they are safe. Unlike x-rays that use radiation, an ultrasound uses sound waves. These sound waves are transmitted and received through a device called a transducer. When the sound waves bounce off of bone and tissue, it produces a picture. There have been some studies that show cells being altered when very high frequency sound waves were used. This is why it is important to always go to a properly trained professional who uses the proper equipment.
3-D and 4-D ultrasounds are becoming popular among parents who want a clearer picture of their baby. These scans can also be useful in determining if there are abnormalities in a foetus such as a cleft palate or spina bifida which are harder to determine in a 2-D scan. However, most experts do not think that these types of scans are necessary and should be used with caution.
There are many people who now offer 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds for parents who want a keepsake of their unborn baby. There are many risks to using this type of service. For instance, if an inexperienced technician is performing the scan, they may press to hard on the mother’s uterus trying to get a good picture. They may also not know that there should be a time limit to the session. Currently there are no laws that state 3-D ultrasounds be performed by a certified ultrasound technologist. They may also get a false positive of a medical condition in the foetus that doesn’t exist, causing anxiety and stress to the mother.
Overall, ultrasound scans during pregnancy are safe when done properly by a trained professional.