Ultrasound scans are available to all pregnant women, and are an exciting experience for many. Often it's during an ultrasound scan that you truly realise you're going to be a parent. It can be especially wonderful for dads and older siblings.
Ultrasound is basically a peek inside your womb. It works by sending high-frequency sound waves through a device called a transducer, which is covered in gel to help transmit sound waves. This is passed over your belly and a picture is obtained from the reflected sounds or echoes.
Ultrasound is used for all sorts of reasons but the two main early pregnancy scans offered to women in New Zealand are Nuchal Translucency and Anatomy.
Between Weeks 11 and 14, it’s possible to measure nuchal translucency (the thickness of the skin at the back of the foetus’ neck). This helps determine the risk of Down's syndrome.
Between 18 and 20 weeks, this ultrasound scan takes a close look at your developing baby, and checks that the placenta is clear of the cervix. Most parents find this an exciting and reassuring experience.
Scans are painless and have become so common that most women have them. Yet there is some controversy around the risks and benefits of ultrasound. If you have any concerns, talk to your LMC.
Tell everybody in the Treasures Forum about your first ultrasound scan experience, and don't forget to share the picture!