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What are Obstetric Ultrasound Scans?
                                                                                       by Joseph Woo   www.ob-ultrasound.net



Obstetric Ultrasound is the use of ultrasound scans in pregnancy. Since its introduction in the late 1950’s ultrasonography has become a very useful diagnostic tool in Obstetrics.

Currently used equipments are known as real-time scanners, with which a continuous picture of the moving fetus can be depicted on a monitor screen. Very high frequency sound waves of between 3.5 to 7.0 megahertz (i.e. 3.5 to 7 million cycles per second) are generally used for this purpose.

They are emitted from a transducer which is placed in contact with the maternal abdomen, and is moved to "look at" (likened to a light shined from a torch) any particular content of the uterus. Repetitive arrays of ultrasound beams scan the fetus in thin slices and are reflected back onto the same transducer.

The information obtained from different reflections are recomposed back into a picture on the monitor screen (a sonogram, or ultrasonogram). Movements such as fetal heart beat and malformations in the fetus can be assessed and measurements can be made accurately on the images displayed on the screen. Such measurements form the cornerstone in the assessment of gestational age, size and growth in the fetus