Doppler ultrasound in pregnancy: what is it?

Doppler ultrasound is a modern method of instrumental diagnostics, which is primarily aimed at revealing of infringements blood flow in the placenta to ensure adequate nutrition of the fetus. With this research possible timely detection of various disorders in the blood flow, which allows to carry out an effective treatment and prevent severe complications of fetal development.

Doppler ultrasound – what is it?

The acronym stands for Doppler ultrasound «Doppler ultrasound». The essence of this study is to record the reflected ultrasound wave from a moving object. Thus, depending on the direction and rate of movement of the reflected ultrasonic wave has a different frequency (the Doppler effect).

In obstetrics this research is used to assess the status of blood flow in the placenta and uterine arteries. The body of the fetus throughout the pregnancy is in a state of formation and ripening. An insufficient supply of blood and oxygen in body leads to hypoxia, which is detrimental effect on narocito (cells of the nervous system).

Prolonged and severe hypoxia cause severe malformations, especially those that affect the structure of the nervous system. Also with the help of USLG explores the heart of a fetus older than 12 weeks (the period of time during which there is a bookmark and the beginning of the functioning of the heart), due to the Doppler principle is visualised by the direction and velocity of blood in its cavities.

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Indications for research

The main indications for Doppler ultrasound to a woman is a routine examination at gestational age of 12 weeks. The obstetrician-gynecologist evaluates the condition of the heart and major blood vessels of the fetus, and the adequacy of the blood supply to his body, which is provided by the placenta. Unscheduled study can be conducted for several reasons, which include:

  • The decrease in the intensity of blood flow in various pathology of the placenta (placental insufficiency).
  • Diagnosed using conventional ultrasound entanglement neck of the fetus by the umbilical cord.
  • The mismatch of physical and functional characteristics of fetal development in pregnancy (developmental delays).
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  • Multiple pregnancy – it is characterized by formation of multiple fetuses in the uterus, which leads to increased functional load on the uterus and the placenta.
  • Preeclampsia (toxemia) of pregnancy.
  • Complications during previous pregnancy or childbirth in women, a stillbirth or a miscarriage – the study is conducted for the timely detection of possible changes of the placenta or fetus for the subsequent prevention of complications.
  • The presence of RH-conflict a pathological condition in which the blood of the mother produce antibodies to the fetal red blood cells (this condition occurs when the RH-negative maternal blood type and RH-positive blood of the fetus).
  • The presence of somatic comorbidity in pregnant woman, having a negative impact on the condition of the blood vessels (diabetes mellitus, hypertension, various chronic kidney disease, in particular glomerulonephritis, the changes in blood coagulating system).
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Also Doppler ultrasound of a pregnant woman can be carried out repeatedly (sometimes several times) to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment.

The advantages of the study

In contrast to methods of imaging internal organs and blood vessels, which can be treated by curing the ionizing (x-rays), ultrasound is safe for the body of the developing fetus, which is a major advantage. The possibility of visualization of blood flow in different areas of the body of the fetus (especially in the heart) and placenta makes this study highly informative.

How goes the research, the preparation

The planned study conduct Doppler ultrasound the woman is usually performed at gestational age of 12 weeks. In future, if necessary, an accurate diagnosis of possible pathological processes it may be repeated several times. This ultrasound examination is carried out in a medical facility (usually at the gynecology Department, the hospital or family planning center). Doppler ultrasound is a noninvasive method of instrumental diagnosis, the study lasts for 15 – 20 minutes.

When the woman is on the couch in position on side or supine, doctor of ultrasonic diagnostics causes the surface of the skin in the lower abdomen with a special gel, which provides the normal passage of the ultrasonic waves from the sensor. He then applies the ultrasonic sensor and performs the study.

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During the diagnostic procedure data displayed on the monitor and also recorded in the computer memory. After performing Doppler ultrasound, the doctor on the basis of the obtained results concludes. Special preparation is not usually required, Doppler ultrasound, preferably on an empty stomach. Filling the bladder for creating an ultrasonic window is not required. Due to safety for the fetus and the woman’s body during pregnancy Doppler ultrasound is widespread in obstetric practice, so this methodology of diagnosis will be performed on all women in a planned manner.

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