Nowadays pregnancy and ultrasound go hand-in-hand. Those amazing 4D images which show the baby’s features are oh-so popular, and perfect for sharing on social media so the debate can begin about whose nose the baby has before they make their grand entrance! But it’s not that long ago that we had no way of seeing the baby in-utero at all, let alone making out their features or telling their sex.

While ultrasound was first used in medicine during World War II, it was not used to check on the health of developing babies until the mid 1950s. Since then ultrasound has progressed from the classic black and white images through to the now highly popular and high-tech 3D and 4D scans.

But ultrasounds aren’t just happy snaps to share on Facebook; they’re an extremely important part of allowing you and your obstetrician to check on the health of your baby during your pregnancy. As such, it’s really important to ensure you are getting the most out of your ultrasound appointments. I strongly recommend you book your appointment with an ultrasound practice with deep knowledge, understanding and expertise in the area. Unfortunately, there are some places where essentially all you will get is that happy snap, and no proper medical input.

Why do you need ultrasounds?

As mentioned above, ultrasounds are a key way for you and your obstetrician to check on the health of your baby before it is born. While the majority of the pregnancy ultrasounds conducted each day show that everything is perfectly normal and progressing well, there is that small percentage where the ultrasound picks up abnormalities in the baby’s development.

Whilst nobody wants for this to be the case, the good part about this is it allows for there to be medical intervention if it is necessary. Thanks to the amazing advancement in modern medicine, nowadays it is even possible to perform fetal surgery whilst the baby is still in the womb, allowing for certain birth defects to be treated. None of this would be possible without ultrasound to pick up the problem in the first place!

Of course, often a fetal defect does not result in a happy story. It’s a heartbreaking thing to be a part of. But thanks to ultrasound it does often make it possible for these things to be picked up early, and allow for a certain degree of readiness. A lot of this does come down to the skill of the operator though, and is a big part of why it’s so important to choose the right provider for your pregnancy ultrasounds.

Where should you go for your pregnancy ultrasound?

If you needed a health check, would you simply go to a photographer, have a photo taken, think you looked alright, and assume this meant you were in good health? It sounds silly, doesn’t it? You’d definitely want to see someone with proper medical training who could pick up on the things that you don’t know about. It’s exactly the same when you are having your pregnancy ultrasound.

While the “happy snap” side of it is nice bonus, ultrasound really is about checking on the health of your baby which is why you want a trained professional who can pick up on the nuances. If there is a problem, you want to know there is someone available to explain what is happening, and counsel you as to what implications it has.

When you are choosing your pregnancy ultrasound location, I strongly recommend you choose somewhere which provides far more than just a happy snap; choose somewhere with staff you know you can trust to notice everything, and give you the proper care if there are any complications.

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Meet Dr Indika Alahakoon   

Dr Indika Alahakoon is a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Westmead Hospital, and is currently the Head of Department. She has extensive experience in managing high risk pregnancies. Further to this, Dr Indika has completed specialised training in Diagnostic Ultrasound imaging, and heads the friendly and professional team at the Centre For Women’s Ultrasound. She is available to consult and counsel patients regarding any pregnancy complications picked up during their scan at the Centre For Women’s Ultrasound.

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