Getting an ultrasound picture of your baby can be one of the most exciting moments of your entire pregnancy. You finally get to see a rough image of what your baby looks like as it develops in your stomach.
However, as exciting it can be, it can also be confusing. Ultrasound pictures can be hard to read, and unless you’re a medical professional, you probably won’t know exactly what you’re looking at.
How do you read an ultrasound picture? Check out this guide to find out.
1. Numbers and Text
One thing that really confuses people when they receive an ultrasound is the numbers and text at the top of the scan. Luckily, you can completely disregard this information.
The numbers and text at the top of the scan typically include information such as the hospital reference number, your name, and the ultrasound machine settings. This information is not anything you need to worry about, as hospitals use them internally for patient identification.
2. Consider the Colors
Most ultrasound images are in black and white. However, advances in image technology have also led to some ultrasounds with yellow coloring.
The color differences on an ultrasound show the differences in the densities of material that the sound passes through. Sound waves from the ultrasound probe will penetrate your skin, bounce off structures, and then return to the probe. The computer will then translate this data and produce an image.
Sound waves penetrate bones, so when you get an ultrasound of your baby (also known as a sonogram), any area where there is bone will show up in bright white. The more the waves are able to penetrate into something, the darker the image will appear.
For example, blood and amniotic fluid will look black on an ultrasound. Tissues will appear in varying shades of gray because sound waves can somewhat penetrate them.
3. Image Orientation
If you get an ultrasound of your baby, it’s pretty easy to see what you’re looking at. However, if you’re getting an ultrasound of another body part, it can sometimes be difficult to tell what you’re looking at.
To figure out what you’re looking at, start at the top of the ultrasound image and work your way down. The very top of the ultrasound image is where the probe rests, so the image will show the fetus and organs looks like from the side, rather than the top.
If you’re looking at the ultrasound of your uterus, the top will show an outline of the tissues above the uterus. As you move further down the image, you can see deeper into the uterus and the uterine lining. If you have any questions about how to view your ultrasound picture, you can also contact your mobile imaging center.
Ultrasound Pictures: Time to Look
Now that you know how to read ultrasound pictures, it’s time to take a look at your own. With the information above, you should have a better understanding of what you’re looking at.
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