Tagged with: baby birth defects disability prenatal spina bifida Technology ultrasound
March is Developmental Disabilities Month, and prenatal detection of these conditions is rapidly advancing due to innovations in ultrasound technology. There are many kinds of developmental disabilities, and they are caused in a variety of ways, but early detection and intervention is the best way of providing lifelong health, happiness, and productivity to a child with a disability condition.
Developmental Disabilities Now Detectable by Ultrasound
Ultrasound is a technology with a long history. The concept of using sound to create an image was first invented in 1877, and the first ultrasound imaging was done in 1949. A live baby was first imaged with 2D ultrasound in 1986.
Considerable advances in ultrasound technology have happened since then. Now, 3D and 4D imaging are possible. 3D ultrasound provides a three-dimensional snapshot image, and 4D ultrasound allows observation over time and captures images of movement.
Ultrasound screening can detect many developmental disabilities during the first and second trimester of pregnancy, including spina bifida, Down’s syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, cerebral palsy, vision problems, and heart abnormalities.
Ultrasound is less expensive, less invasive, safer, and easier for medical professionals to use than x-ray, CT scans, or MRIs. Ultrasound can even be done remotely with hundreds, or even thousands of miles of distance, between the patient and technician.
Causes of Developmental Disabilities
Developmental disabilities have many causes. Some, like Down’s syndrome, are caused by missing or extra copies of chromosomes in the child’s genes. These chromosomal changes express themselves in anatomical features that are detectable during pregnancy using ultrasound imaging.
Other developmental disabilities, such as toxoplasmosis, are caused by an infection in the mother or fetus during pregnancy. Prenatal infection often produces problems in the unborn baby’s vision or hearing systems. In these cases also, changes in the physical structure and appearance in the fetus are observable with modern ultrasound technology.
How Ultrasound Detects Developmental Disability
During the first trimester, ultrasound technicians can look for a build-up of fluid in the back of the neck of a developing fetus that, if present, can indicate a chromosomal defect or a heart abnormality.
The size of the baby can be easily determined with ultrasound during the second trimester. This gives important information to doctors about that can correlate with a number of potential developmental disabilities in the child.
High resolution, or Level II ultrasound, is an even more advanced development in this technology. High-resolution ultrasound produces visual images of very small areas of tissue inside the body, allowing medical professionals to make detailed observations about health with less risk to the patient.
Ultrasound Screening for Your Baby’s Health
Developmental disabilities affect a person for their entire life. But, overall health, happiness, and productivity are still possible for people who have a disabling condition, especially with early detection and intervention using ultrasound screening before birth.
Having ultrasound screening during pregnancy is a choice parents can make with their doctor. Finding out about a disability condition as soon as possible gives your child the best chance of achieving his or her potential in life.
How are you helping raise awareness about developmental disabilities? Let me know in the comments below!
Fore more information and resources on developmental disabilities: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/developmentaldisabilities/links.html