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What Exactly Is an Ultrasound or Sonogram?

Today I received a great question on Ask Tori, RN, about sonograms (ultrasound is the technique used to make the image) and whether or not they are harmful or have any effect on the unborn baby.

Ultrasounds are considered to be a very safe method of providing valuable information during pregnancy. There is no indication that they are harmful or affect the baby in any way. Some ultrasound equipment can provide a photo or video of the baby in 3-D or 4-D. This gives and image of the baby that is strikingly detailed and clear. Instead of a black and white, shady image, the baby looks very much like he or she will after birth.

Many medical practitioners now do more detailed 3-D/4-D ultrasounds. I have to say that I am still fond of the images made by traditional ultrasounds. They leave a little more mystery as to what the baby will look like. And I very much like surprises.

There are private facilities, set up like photo studios that do “non-medical” 3-D/4-D ultrasounds for a fee. There is controversy about this and most practitioners that I know do not think it is wise to have one without a medical indication. I’d love to hear what you think.

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