Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Prenatal Ultrasound

Ultrasound can be used in several ways. It can measure the size of the fetus's body parts, such as the head, which is useful in dating a pregnancy, and it can follow the growth of the fetus. It can produce a crosssectional picture, or slice, of the fetal body. A slice through the fetal abdomen can show the size and location of the organs inside.

Ultrasound can also be used to observe movements of fetal structures such as the beating of the heart, emptying of the bladder, movements of the chest, and sucking of the thumb.
The applications of prenatal ultrasound include the following:
  1. Identifying an embryo or fetus to diagnose pregnancy
  2. Monitoring the growth of the fetus
  3. Determining whether a fetus has or has not been aborted
  4. Identifying multiple pregnancies and fetal position
  5. Treating the fetus before birth
  6. Estimating the weight of the fetus to assess the safety of a vaginal birth after a previous cesarean birth.

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