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Expectant Mothers See Babies Earlier

December 28, 2012, 6:13 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Expectant Mothers See Babies Earlier

Expectant mothers can now see their baby sooner thanks to a new, small piece of technology.  Sanford now has new Vscan technology, which is as small as a cell phone but stores powerful ultrasound technology.

Megan Johnson is getting an early look at her first baby. She's only 15 weeks along.

"I think it just made it real," Johnson said.

Most expectant mothers don't receive their first ultrasound until 20 weeks, but this Vscan technology allows soon-to-be parents to see their baby as early as nine weeks.

"More than anything it was really reassuring to see my baby moving and to see the heartbeat. That was the best part," Johnson said.

"Most insurances don't necessarily cover an early ultrasound in pregnancy unless there's an indication, so this gives them a chance to see their baby without having to go through that hoop," Sanford Dr. Erica Schipper said.

The Vscan not only shows an image of the baby, but it also allows doctors to see the baby's heart beating. But those aren't the only advantages to this tiny technology.

"We can use it later in the pregnancy if there's just a quick question that needs to be answered. For instance, toward the end of the pregnancy if we're not sure if the baby is head down, we can check and make sure," Schipper said.

The Vscan is also more portable than a traditional ultrasound machine, but it does have some disadvantages.

"A large formal ultrasound machine is going to be much more detailed. It's going to have a lot more options as far as calculations and that sort of thing," Schipper said.

That is why even though this technology is very telling for expectant parents, it won't completely replace the older ultrasound.  At least, not yet.

"I think everything in medicine is getting smaller, more portable, more user-friendly as with anything in technology, and it's really fun to see it changing," Schipper said.

A change in technology that's allowing parents to see their babies even earlier.

"I sent it to both of my parents, so they were very excited and showing everyone," Johnson said.

Sanford doctors will use the Vscan free of charge during a first OB visit.

Another advantage to the new technology is that doctors will be able to tell whether a woman is expecting twins earlier.

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