Pregnancy is a highly crucial phase for couples. Not only do they want to ascertain the best for their growing baby, but they also want a comfortable pregnancy without rigorous and invasive testing. Thanks to evolving technology, our lives have now changed for the better. What was not possible a few decades back is now accessible very easily.
The Color Doppler test is a popular imaging test prescribed to pregnant women during their gestation period. Not just for recording the baby’s heart rate, a color doppler also checks the blood flow and fetal growth in the womb.
Doppler scans are done during the third trimester, preferably during the last stage of pregnancy, to rule out any complications in the baby or the mother. In high-risk pregnancies, the test is done during the early stages.
This article will explore everything about the color doppler ultrasound test, its procedure and significance during pregnancy.
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What is a color Doppler Ultrasound?
During pregnancy, the color doppler ultrasound is one of the most prevalent yet intrinsic types of Doppler ultrasound imaging technique that identifies and traces the blood flow and speed of the blood circulation in the vessels.
The radiology imaging technique involves a combined use of ultrasound pulse-echo with ultrasound Doppler imaging techniques for a clear understanding and status of the baby’s growth in the mother.
Unlike the standard Doppler scan imaging, the color doppler uses a connected computer to adjust the emitted sound waves into varying colors to produce a final-colored image. The colored image gives a clear path and understanding of the blood flow through the different blood vessels in the fetal heart and the other principal organs in the body.
The colored tracing with the doppler technique also identifies the fetus’ solid tissues, especially the heart walls, to check for proper development and any prevalent anomalies or congenital disabilities in the developing fetus.
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What is the significance of Color Doppler Ultrasound during Pregnancy?
Unlike standard ultrasound scans, a color doppler technique clearly shows the blood flow path and any obstruction in blood circulation in the developing fetus during the pregnancy.
The color doppler ultrasound is generally prescribed twice during the term of the pregnancy. It is performed during the 10-12 weeks mark for high-risk pregnancies. During this stage, the doctor uses this test to check for common developmental abnormalities in the fetus.
During the 31-40 weeks, the test analyzes risks of intrauterine growth retraction in the baby. During the third-trimester phase, the doctor checks for any prevalent heart-related abnormalities, state of the pulmonary development, and any risks of obstruction in the blood circulation due to developing tumors.
In very rare cases, color doppler sonography also diagnoses a condition called placenta accreta. In this condition, the placenta is very tightly bound to the inside of the mother’s womb, leading to incomplete delivery of the placenta after birth. Doctors use color doppler in such cases to scrape out the remaining placenta to avoid complications in the future.
How is the color Doppler Test Performed during Pregnancy?
If you are worried and tired of the constant poking and prodding during pregnancy, a color doppler is a safe and painless procedure. It doesn’t involve any needles and doesn’t require any special preparations for the test.
Once you have a date scheduled for your color doppler, all you have to do is show up to the hospital and wear the hospital gown before the test starts. Following that, you’d be suggested to follow the steps mentioned:
- The color doppler ultrasound is a 30-60 minutes procedure, so your doctor will advise you to come prepared with some spare time.
- Once you are ready wearing the hospital gown, you will have to lie down on the table and be asked to lift the gown to expose the abdomen.
- A special gel is then applied all over the exposed abdomen to prepare for the ultrasound imaging.
- The doctor then uses a transducer probe to transmit the sound waves into the abdomen, generating images on the computer screen.
- The soundwaves are then converted into graphics to trace the blood flow path and even check the movement of the blood in the fetus.
- Once the doctor/technician has covered all the necessary imaging, the patient can wipe off the gel from their abdomen and change back into their clothes.
Every pregnant woman should get a color doppler ultrasound during their pregnancy term to rule out any blood flow related complications in the growing fetus.
What should I check in the color Doppler Ultrasound Results?
Once the color doppler ultrasound is done, the reports can take up to a day to a week to come through. The duration depends on the hospital or clinic where you are getting the test done.
The test is predominantly performed to check for the following severities:
- Possibilities and underlying risks of a premature birth
- Prominent malformations and underdevelopment of the fetus, especially in multiple pregnancies
- Risks of intrauterine growth restriction
- Improper and imbalanced growth in one of the fetuses in the case of twins
- Risks of high blood pressure in the mother
- Placenta accreta (in rare cases)
The reports should mention any complications in the fetus or the mother’s blood flow and circulation. While a few other doppler tests come with a handheld machine, the same isn’t available for the color doppler ultrasound.
Is Color Doppler Ultrasound Safe?
A color doppler ultrasound can diagnose many abnormalities both early on and later in the pregnancy. This is an absolute must in women with high-risk pregnancies to rule out any kinds of blood flow related complications. Doppler scans are very common for multiple pregnancies and diagnosing placental complications before they become fatal.
Given how intrinsic the procedure is, it is crucial during pregnancy. The technique and the test are completely safe and 100% non-invasive. A color doppler test during pregnancy can rule out complications in high-risk pregnancies and ensure a healthy delivery.
What is the Cost of a Color Doppler Ultrasound in Pregnancy?
The color doppler ultrasound imaging cost varies between INR 2,000 to INR 4,000. The cost will vary depending on the city and the laboratory or hospital in which you are getting the test.
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Getting a Color Doppler Ultrasound test during pregnancy can help in several ways. Not only does it rule out the risks and anomalies in the growing fetus, but a better resolution image shows clearer results than the standard ultrasound scans. If your OBGYN recommends getting a color doppler, we’d highly recommend getting it done to ensure the optimal health and well-being of the baby and the mother.