(KUTV) Having a baby is an exciting time for any woman and the number one question for many: is the baby a boy or girl?
Ultrasounds are used to answer this question before the baby is born. But just how reliable are they?
Dr. Ryan Porter from Riverton Hospital says, “Ultrasounds have a number of uses in pregnancy.”
Doctors use ultrasounds on pregnant women for a number of reasons.
They answer questions, such as, "when is the due date” and "does the baby have any genetic abnormalities?"
Ultrasounds can also determine the baby's gender.
“The ultrasounds machines have gotten much better. If you look back, in the 70s and 80s, people didn't think you could determine the gender of a baby for 36 weeks of pregnancy,” Dr. Porter says.
Doctors can usually determine a baby's gender during the second trimester, though there are times that moms will have to wait a little longer.
”If the baby is in the breech position or in certain circumstances, the position of the limbs and umbilical cord, all can make it a little more difficult,” Dr. Porter explains.
Now, of course, not everyone wants to know if they are having a boy or a girl.
“Almost everyone wants to know. The exception to the rule are people who have had a number of pregnancies and want it to be a surprise,” Dr. Porter says.
There is some ongoing debate about whether ultrasounds are harmful to the fetus.
Doctors say they isn't enough research out there to suggest ultrasounds are not safe.
For more information on this topic, go to: https://intermountainhealthcare.org/hospitals/rivertonhospital/Pages/home.aspx
(Copyright 2012 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)