Over a span of more than 35 years, the field of obstetrics has utilized ultrasound technology. A countless number of these procedures have been performed on over three generations of women. This non-invasive method, with its numerous benefits, has been confirmed to hold no adverse effects. In fact, according to the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the levels of energy used in ultrasound produce little, if any at all, effects on the developing fetus.
The Advantages of Ultrasound Imaging Technology
Ultrasounds many valuable advantages include not only finding abnormalities in the fetus, but also often result in positive psychological results from expecting women. When mothers-to-be actually see the developing life within them, such highly beneficial changes that may be necessary, such as smoking cessation or adhering to a healthy diet, very often successfully occur.
Over the years, as the field of ultrasound has developed, 3D imaging has replaced conventional 2D as one of the most-used methods of the procedure. Now, through the use of the better technological capabilities of 3D imaging, doctors (and mothers!) can view a much clearer, more detailed, accurate, and realistic image of the fetus growing within.
Obstetrical Usage Far Different Than Laboratory Usage
Some individuals maintain a misconception perhaps after reading about studies of ultrasound experimentation performed on laboratory animals that 3D ultrasound can be potentially dangerous to the developing fetus. However, this mistaken belief should be alleviated when ultrasound as performed during the practice of obstetrics is better understood.
When some past experiments have been performed on laboratory animals, the energy levels have been highly elevated, plus the length of time of ultrasound exposure has been greatly multiplied as compared to procedures done on human beings.
Three-dimensional ultrasound utilizes the very same energy and time limitations as conventional 2D ultrasound, which has been around and used with no ill effects for decades. The imaging produced by 3D imaging (as well as the newest 4D ultrasound imaging) does not come from any increase in frequency or levels of energy or power as that used in 2D ultrasound imaging. The images created by these latest advances in ultrasound technology actually are produced by two things:
- 1) the combination of the additional ability to gather information or data from being able to listen during the procedure via the transducer and
2) by being able to now interpret this gathered information by the use of specialized software.
A Regulated Procedure
The federally run Food and Drug Administrations strictly regulates the amount of energy allowable for fetal ultrasounds to 94 milliwatts/cm2. Obstetrical ultrasound machine manufacturers commonly build the instruments below the FDAs limited energy requirements in order to make doubly sure no harm can possibly occur to the developing fetus, the mother-to-be (and anyone she may have with her to view the process), or to the doctor or sonographer performing the procedure. Therefore, 3D ultrasound as well as other types of ultrasound used for obstetrical purposes, whether 2D, 3D, or 4D is completely and reliably safe.