Expectant parents cannot deny the exhilarating experience of viewing their unborn child through ultrasound. But before you scurry for a scan, one has to be aware of the fact that it is “unrealistic and unreasonable to expect detection of all fetal anomalies even with the most expert and thorough scanning.“ (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology).
The Unheard Sound “Ultra” means ‘extremely’ while “Sound” per se is made up of vibrations that travel through air, water or some other media like body tissues to reach a certain threshold and be heard by the human ears. Thus, the compound word ultrasound is synonymous to ‘hyper-phonography” which is not audible since they are EXTREMELY high frequency waves traveling above the limit of human hearing.
Who performs the scan? The following are the medical specialists equipped with the expertise to do the much anticipated scan: • From the mother Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Fellows of 2 subspecialties in the field of Sonology and Perinatology are board certified physicians who are highly trained to scan and explain the findings.
• Radiologists on one hand are physicians with specialized training in interpreting images from radiographs, magnetic resonance, tomography and ultrasound as well.
How safe is the procedure? Except for isolated cases of hypersensitivity to latex material from the condom used during transvaginal scan and mild allergic rash for mothers with sensitive skin on application of utrasonic gel, there are hardly any risks involved.
Presently, no definite scientific data is out to prove any damaging effect on the embryos exposed in utero to ultrasound waves for over a half century of use. There is no reported risk such as ionizing radiations as in X-rays, likewise long term studies have not linked ultrasound to problems in neurological development and future school performance of the child.