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An ultrasound scan is a diagnostic technique which uses high-frequency sound
waves to create an image of the internal organs. A screening ultrasound is sometimes done during the course of a pregnancy to monitor normal fetal growth and verify the due date. Ultrasounds may be performed at various times throughout pregnancy for different reasons:
In the first trimester:
Mid-trimester: (sometimes called the 18 to 20 week scan)
Although the specific details of each procedure vary slightly, generally, ultrasounds follow this process. Two types of ultrasounds can be performed during pregnancy:
Ultrasound images may be captured in still photographs or on video to document findings.
There is no known evidence of any type of risk or danger to the fetus with ultrasound. The mother may experience some discomfort from the pressure of the ultrasound transducer or from having a full bladder, which may be needed in early pregnancy exams.
Ultrasound is a technique that is constantly being improved and refined. As with any test, results may not be completely accurate. However, ultrasound can provide valuable information for parents and healthcare providers to help manage and care for the pregnancy and fetus. In addition, ultrasound gives parents a unique opportunity to see their baby before birth, helping them to bond and establish an early relationship.
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