Exterior Ultrasound

The ultrasound is perhaps the most well known of the many different antenatal tests and tools that are currently in use in the UK. Ultrasounds are routinely performed during pregnancies across the world, and that alone is a testament to their safety and usefulness. There are in fact a few different types of ultrasound scan in use at the moment, and these include the traditional exterior ultrasound with which you may be familiar and which is the subject of this article. The endoscopic ultrasound is used routinely in the UK by both NHS and private medical practitioners to monitor the health of both pregnant women and unborn babies.

What is an Exterior Ultrasound?

An exterior ultrasound scan involves an external hand held probe (also called a transducer), which is place upon the abdomen of a pregnant women to generate an image of an unborn baby. The first step in taking the image is applying what is called a coupling gel to the abdomen to improve the image produced. Your doctor, or trained ultrasound technician, will then make use of the device to image the unborn baby inside your womb.

The main difference between an exterior ultrasound and alternative ultrasound techniques is that a handheld external probe is used to image the womb and unborn baby. This makes it an extremely quick, safe, and efficient way to check up on the development and growth of an foetus.

When is an Exterior Ultrasound?

Exterior ultrasound scans are the imaging tool of choice when it comes to pregnancy. This is because of their safety (discussed in more detail in the next article) and usefulness in providing a clear image of a developing foetus. Ultrasound scans are performed at various stages across the length of a pregnancy. Key points include an early pregnancy ultrasound, and ultrasounds at later stages which determine the progress of a pregnancy and important facts like the sex of the unborn baby.

Are Exterior Ultrasound scans safe?

The safety of the exterior ultrasound has been well established through years of use as an important part of the antenatal care toolbox. Using sound waves to generate images rather than potentially harmful radiation, ultrasound scans offer a completely harmless method of looking at what’s going on in the womb during a pregnancy.

Are Exterior Ultrasound scans painful?

While interior ultrasound scans and endoscopic scans can be uncomfortable because they are mildly invasive, the exterior ultrasound is neither painful nor uncomfortable. In fact, the only cause for complaint has traditionally been the fact that the coupling gel applied to the abdomen prior to a skin is a bit cold!

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