Doppler Ultrasound Scan

What is a Doppler Scan?

A Doppler scan, also referred to as just Doppler or its full name is a Uterine artery Doppler ultrasound scan, is an ultrasound scan (a scan using high frequency sounds waves to create pictures) designed to measure blood flow in different parts of your body. In pregnancy, doppler scans are used to measure your baby’s blood flow in areas such as the umbilical cord, brain, liver and heart. It also gives an idea of how well the placenta (afterbirth) has developed and if it likely to cause any problems throughout the rest of the pregnancy. These measurements are then taken to assess your baby’s health. A Doppler scan can be performed at the same time as a normal ultrasound, as it uses the same equipment and only takes a few minutes and uses the. It is not harmful to you or your baby (carry’s the same risks as 2d Ultrasound Scan).

Doppler Scan In Pregnancy

Doppler sonography is most often used for screening women with high-risk pregnancies, including those carrying twins sharing a placenta or babies affected by rhesus antibodies or babies who aren’t growing at the rate that they should be. An example of when a Doppler would be carried is out is if your baby had been told that your baby was ‘small for its date’. In this instance the Doppler scan would be focused on your placenta and the umbilical cord to measure the blood flow between them both.

Your baby is attached to the placenta by the umbilical cord, which has two arteries and a vein. Blood from the placenta carries essential nutrients and oxygen to your baby and takes waste products back through the Placenta and umbilical cordumbilical cord. There should be low resistance in the walls of your umbilical arteries to allow as much blood through as possible. If the resistance is high, blood can’t get through very easily and your baby may not get enough food and oxygen, so it cannot grow as well as it should.

What is a Cardiotocograph (CTG) ?

A cardiotocograph (CTG) is a form of Doppler ultrasound that can be used to monitor your baby’s heartbeat to see that it beats at a normal rate and variability. A healthy baby’s heart rate varies from beat to beat and increases when the baby moves.

Women who are having a normal pregnancy do not need to have a CTG. If your baby moves regularly during the day then it is most likely to be fine and you will not need a CTG. You need to contact your midwife who will be able to listen to your baby’s heartbeat if you are at all concerned about your baby’s lack of movement.  It is possible to hire or buy a portable Doppler machine to listen to your baby’s heartbeat at home. Some mothers like to do this as a method of reassurance especially if this is their first baby.

A CTG which is used during labour is also known as electronic fetal monitoring (EFM). It is used (only when the midwife or consultant feels it is necessary) to monitor your baby’s heartbeat and contractions during labour.

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