GCA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GCA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Seven-month-old foetus. Coloured ultrasound scan of a seven-month-old foetus, showing the face in profile. Ultrasound scans are built up from the reflections of very high frequency sound waves produced by a transducer held against the abdomen. Scanning is usually carried out at 16-18 weeks into a pregnancy to check for physical abnormalities or multiple pregnancy, and to help estimate the expected delivery date. Scans later in pregnancy may be carried out if the foetus is moving too much, if fetal movements cease, or if the mother experiences vaginal bleeding. The technique is harmless.
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