MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: What are the advantages of using ultrasound for scaning un-born babies?

Date: Mon May 31 20:34:25 1999
Posted By: Gabriel Vargas, Post-doc/Fellow, Neurosciences/Psychiatry, UCSF
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 924534534.Me

It is a good idea to scan fetuses (unborn babies) to check to see if there 
are any malformations. At the beginning of the pregnancy starting at about 
7 weeks of gestational age you can see the heart beating. Later on one can 
see the internal organs and see if there are malformations such as heart 
defects or neural tube defects. Usually a first scan is done during the 
first few weeks of pregnancy to check the embryo, then at around 18 weeks a 
more thorough scan is done. At this point one can sometimes determine the 
sex of the baby. Towards the end of the pregnancy a scan to check all the 
internal organs is done. Ultrasound is preferable to other imaging because 
it is thought to be very safe-it does not hurt the baby.

gabriel vargas md/phd

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