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Are Ultrasounds Safe During Pregnancy?

Are Ultrasounds Safe During Pregnancy?
Ultrasounds can detect many pregnancy-related issues. (Photo: Freepik)

According to a doctor, unlike X-rays, ultrasound relies on "harmless sound waves" to generate images to detect birth defects.

Written by Prerna Mittra |Updated : February 9, 2024 12:45 PM IST

During pregnancy, a woman has to ensure that she is healthy and safe for the sake of her baby. Often, there is a fear of getting an ultrasound done, even though it is routine practice during the gestation period and is advisable by doctors.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, prenatal or pregnancy ultrasound is a method that uses sound waves to create a picture of your baby on a screen. Pregnancy care providers use it to check on the baby's health and to detect if there are any complications. While most people have two ultrasounds during their pregnancy period, one may need to have more if it is necessary from a medical point of view.

On whether an ultrasound is safe or not, gynecologist Dr Anjali Kumar explained in an Instagram video that it is absolutely safe to conduct one during pregnancy. In fact, it is also safe to get it done during the first trimester, which is said to be the most crucial period. "[Ultrasounds are] safe in all the trimesters. It uses sound waves -- not the X-rays -- and a computer screen to create the image of your baby inside the womb," she said, adding: "Ultrasound in pregnancy has been in use for more than three decades now. And till date, no scientific study has ever demonstrated any harmful, short-term or long-term effect on the baby."

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Different from X-rays

The doctor said unlike X-rays, ultrasound relies on "harmless sound waves to generate images, making it safe for various medical applications, including identifying the pregnancy, detecting birth defects, monitoring the growth of the baby and, very recently, performing some unbelievable intrauterine procedures".

Per the Cleveland Clinic, your healthcare provider may perform a prenatal ultrasound to:

  1. Confirm your pregnancy.
  2. Check for ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, miscarriage or other early pregnancy complications.
  3. Determine baby's gestational age and due date.
  4. Check baby's growth, movement, heart rate.
  5. Look for multiple babies.
  6. Examine pelvic organs like uterus, ovaries, cervix.
  7. Examine the amount of amniotic fluid.
  8. Check the placenta's location.
  9. Check the baby's position.
  10. Detect problems with the baby's organs, muscles, bones.