When Sonography Is Done During Pregnancy

What To Expect From The First Trimester Ultrasound

Ultrasounds During Pregnancy

Many women experience their first ultrasound between 11 to 14 weeks into their pregnancy. With this examination, also known as a “dating ultrasound,” the doctor will evaluate gestational age and rule out or identify any major abnormalities in early development.

During this early ultrasound, you can expect the doctor to:

  • Confirm the pregnancy: This is done by checking the fetal heartbeat.
  • Establish a due date: By measuring the fetus, doctors are able to confirm the gestational age or how far along the pregnancy is and establish an estimated due date.
  • Detect the number of babies: If there is more than one fetus, the doctor should be able to see it.
  • Check for ectopic pregnancy: A doctor can evaluate if the pregnancy is developing where it’s supposed to. An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg attaches outside the uterus.
  • Screen for genetic orders: This exam typically includes a nuchal translucency screening, which is used to rule out Down Syndrome and physical defects of the heart like congenital heart disease.

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And all those extra ultrasounds have providers worried. While there is no evidence that ultrasounds pose a risk to developing fetus, it isnt clear whether there are any risks with excessive ultrasounds. ACOG cautions against the casual use of ultrasound.

All of our professional societies and I as well have some concern about unregulated use of medical ultrasounds, Sheppard said.

Among those concerns: the scans arent necessary and the people providing them might not be trained to stick to medical guidelines, like operating the ultrasound machine at too high a power setting or using it for longer than recommended.

Providers are also concerned about the possibility of an ultrasound technician at a freestanding clinic missing a problem with a pregnancy, giving a woman a false sense of security. Sheppard pointed to a case in which a fetus had a hole in its abdominal wall, leaving its intestines growing outside the body a problem missed in an ultrasound at a 3D/4D clinic.

When a mom is falsely reassured, I think is harmful and concerns me, said Sheppard.

How Many Sonograms During A Typical Pregnancy

A good rule of thumb is that the average pregnancy will require at least two sonograms, one occurring in the first trimester and the other being administered in the second trimester. How early can an ultrasound detect pregnancy? The first ultrasound generally is administered somewhere between 6 and 9 weeks, and this provides the very first look at the developing fetus. Besides providing that first important look, the first-trimester ultrasound confirms the due date by accurately measuring the fetus.

It also confirms that the baby has a heartbeat, and if there is more than one fetus developing, that will be identified as well. One last fact determined by the first-trimester ultrasound is that the gestation is occurring in the uterus as it should, and is not developing as either a tubular or ectopic pregnancy. It is often possible to detect a heartbeat as soon as five or six weeks in, and a gestational sac might be seen as soon as 4 1/2 weeks from the beginning of the pregnancy, although these are general timelines, and your physician will be able to better determine if the pregnancy is progressing healthily.

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Types Of Ultrasound During Pregnancy

All types of ultrasound performed during gestation are divided into screening and selective. Currently, ultrasound is an obligatory component of comprehensive pregnancy management programs in all medical institutions. The purpose of screening is to identify women with complicated pregnancy and fetal pathology that require further follow-up, including using invasive methods.

During any screening ultrasound, the gestational period is clarified, fetometric parameters are evaluated, congenital pathology of fetal development is excluded, placenta, umbilical cord and amniotic fluid are evaluated. Depending on the goals and timing of prenatal screening, there are:

  • screening ultrasound of the first trimester
  • screening ultrasound of the second trimester
  • screening ultrasound of the third trimester .

Selective ultrasound during pregnancy is unscheduled, additional studies prescribed for certain indications. They can be carried out at any time and in any quantities. Thus, selective ultrasound may be required to differentiate uterine and ectopic pregnancy in the early stages, with threatened miscarriage, multiple pregnancies, isthmic-cervical insufficiency, placenta previa, abnormal amount of amniotic fluid , with suspicion of frozen pregnancy, intrauterine hypoxia, fetal development delay, etc.

Which Ultrasound Scans Are Offered During Pregnancy

How Many Ultrasounds Are Done During Pregnancy?

In Germany, women with statutory insurance who are not considered to have a high-risk pregnancy are offered three standard ultrasound scans. These scans provide basic information about the progression of the pregnancy and the child’s development.

During the scan, the gynecologist checks the location of the placenta and the amount of amniotic fluid. The child’s size is measured and plotted on a graph in your maternity records. The results of the scan can help to prepare for the birth of the child.

If an ultrasound scan finds abnormalities or delivers unclear results, further examinations can be carried out to clarify them.

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Pregnancy Ultrasound Level 1 / Growth Scan

During the second trimester of pregnancy, ultrasound level 1 or growth Scan is done. This is not a very detailed ultrasound and takes a few minutes to complete. This is a scan that helps to find out the proper growth of the embryo in the uterus. The scan helps identify the following conditions:

  • The position of the placenta in the uterus.
  • Whether the fetus is growing correctly and where is it located.
  • The amount of amniotic fluid present. It is essential for the healthy growth of the embryo.
  • Why The Test Is Performed

    An ultrasound may be done to determine if there is a problem with the pregnancy, how far along the pregnancy is, or to take measurements and screen for potential problems.

    Talk to your health care provider to determine the most appropriate scanning schedule for you.

    A pregnancy ultrasound may be done during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to:

    • Confirm a normal pregnancy

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    Pregnancy Ultrasound Nt/nb Scan

    Main Article: Ultrasound NT Scan

    Pregnancy Ultrasound NT/NB Scan is also known as Nuchal Translucency Scan. It is done in the 11th to 14th month of the pregnancy. In this period, the size of the baby should be anywhere between 45mm and 84mm. The NT Scan is an essential procedure to determine the following:

  • There possibility of developing Downs syndrome in the child.
  • The child doesnt have any congenital heart disease.
  • No VACTERAL association is developing in the child.
  • The child is not suffering from Smith-Lemili-Opitz Syndrome.
  • Additional Ultrasounds May Be Needed

    How Many Ultrasounds Are Done During Pregnancy?

    While two standard ultrasounds are considered routine, there are many reasons why an expecting parent may need more.

    Some patients may have their first ultrasound prior to 11 weeks. The start of an intrauterine pregnancy is visible around 6 weeks, so an ultrasound that occurs any time after six weeks is generally reliable for determining how far along a patient may be. If you have an early ultrasound, you still will need an ultrasound at the 11 to 14 week period to properly assess development.

    If any abnormalities or complications are detected during either of the routine ultrasounds, such as the position of the placenta, you might need more, says Chasen.

    You may also need additional ultrasounds if your baby’s at risk of birth defects or is extremely under or overweight by the time you reach term. The following can increase your baby’s risk:

    • If you smoke or drink alcohol while pregnant, or have a family history of birth defects, it can increase your baby’s risk of birth defects.
    • If you have asthma, inadequate weight gain during pregnancy, or high blood pressure, it can increase your baby’s risk of being underweight.
    • If you’re overweight or develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, it can increase your baby’s risk of being overweight come delivery time.

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    Should You Get A Genetic Screening Ultrasound

    Theres no right or wrong answer to this question. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Here are some good questions to ask yourself as you decide whether to have the genetic screening:

    • Is there a family history of these genetic birth disorders?
    • Would I terminate my pregnancy if there was a risk of Downs Syndrome, Trisomy 13, Trisomy 18, or other genetic disorder?
    • Would knowing about my pregnancys risk of genetic defect make it easier to emotionally or physically prepare for a baby with a birth defect?
    • Would it be easier for me to cope with and enjoy pregnancy if I focus on the more likely positive outcome rather than the chance of birth defects?

    Whether you choose to have genetic screening done at this time is entirely your decision. Some women prefer to have as much information as possible as early as possible, while other women do not. If youre still uncertain, you can discuss the pros and cons with your OBGYN.

    When Is The First Ultrasound Done During Pregnancy

    An ultrasound is a procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to scan the pelvic cavity and abdomen of a woman, and then creates a sonogram of the placenta and the baby. The terms sonogram and ultrasound are technically very different. However, the two are used interchangeably.

    An ultrasound exam can be performed at any point during the pregnancy period. The results of an ultrasound are immediately seen on a monitor when the procedure is being carried out. To diagnose molar pregnancies or diagnose a potential ectopic pregnancy, transvaginal scans may be performed during the early stages of pregnancy. Read to learn when you need to have your first ultrasound done and what precautions you should bear in mind.

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    What If Cvs Is Not Possible

    Women with twins or other higher-order multiples usually need sampling from each placenta. However, because of the complexity of the procedure and the positioning of the placentas, CVS is not always feasible or successful with multiples.

    Women who are not candidates for CVS or who did not get accurate results from the procedure may require a follow-up amniocentesis. An active vaginal infection, such as herpes or gonorrhea, will prohibit the procedure. In other cases, the doctor may take a sample that does not have enough tissue to grow in the lab, generating incomplete or inconclusive results.

    How To Prepare For Pregnancy Ultrasound

    Pregnancy Ultrasound: All You Need to Know

    Wondering how to prepare for a pregnancy ultrasound? If youre getting a transabdominal ultrasound, you should arrive at your appointment with a full bladder. This makes it easier for your doctor or sonographer to see around or through your bladder.

    To time it right, some practitioners suggest emptying your bladder about 90 minutes before your exam. Then drink an 8-ounce beverage of your choice about an hour before your appointment.

    Eating about an hour before your appoinment especially something sugary will also get your baby moving around. This can help the sonographer take better pictures.

    Otherwise, there are no other specific preparations required for a pregnancy ultrasound. Your job: Sit back and enjoy the show!

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    How To Prepare For An Ultrasound Scan During Pregnancy

    Before you prepare for an ultrasound scan for pregnancy, your bladder will need to be full in order to clearly scan for a high-quality image of the foetus. Make sure you drink two to three-ounce glasses of water, one hour before your scheduled ultrasound scan comes up.

    Remember to have a full bladder during your appointment and do not urinate before the scan, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy.

    How Reliable Are The Results Of A Standard Ultrasound Scan

    Standard ultrasound scans can detect some developmental disorders in children straight away, while they can only find less conclusive signs of some other health problems or anomalies. There are some problems and developmental disorders than cannot be identified at all by ultrasound.

    As with all examinations, ultrasound scans can produce false results. Two types of errors are possible:

  • The ultrasound finds signs of developmental disorders even though the child is developing normally.
  • The ultrasound results are normal even though the unborn child does have health problems or anomalies.
  • It is not possible to say exactly how often ultrasound scans in Germany deliver false results. The frequency of errors depends on factors such as how much amniotic fluid is in the amniotic sac, the child’s position and how thick the mothers abdominal wall is. The quality of the ultrasound device and the operator’s expertise can also influence the result. According to international statistics, about 1 out of 100 pregnant women can expect to receive a false result.

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    Second Trimester Prenatal Screening Tests

    Second trimester prenatal screening may include several blood tests called multiple markers. These markers provide information about your potential risk of having a baby with certain genetic conditions or birth defects. Screening is usually done by taking a sample of your blood between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy . The multiple markers include:

    • AFP screening. Also called maternal serum AFP, this blood test measures the level of AFP in your blood during pregnancy. AFP is a protein normally produced by the fetal liver that is present in the fluid surrounding the fetus . It crosses the placenta and enters your blood. Abnormal levels of AFP may indicate:

    • A miscalculated due date, as the levels vary throughout pregnancy

    • Defects in the abdominal wall of the fetus

    • Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities

    • Open neural tube defects, such as spina bifida

  • Estriol. This is a hormone produced by the placenta. It can be measured in maternal blood or urine to be used to determine fetal health.

  • Inhibin. This is a hormone produced by the placenta.

  • Human chorionic gonadotropin. This is also a hormone produced by the placenta.

  • Abnormal test results of AFP and other markers may mean that additional testing is needed. An ultrasound is used to confirm the milestones of your pregnancy and to check the fetal spine and other body parts for defects. An amniocentesis may be needed for an accurate diagnosis.

    The Purpose Of Ultrasounds In Pregnancy

    How many ultrasound scans do you need during pregnancy? l Max Hospital, Pitampura

    Obstetricians and other healthcare professionals use ultrasounds to view babies, and all their precious parts, in utero.

    Ultrasounds use sound waves to create images of your baby as well as your uterus, placenta, and surrounding blood vessels and organs. During the ultrasound exam, an instrument called a transducer sends sound waves through your body. The waves are then echoed back to the transducer, which transforms them into images that are viewed on a video screen.

    Ultrasound technology images your babys body and organs, thereby checking their health and development. In addition, ultrasound technology may be used for:

    • Verifying your pregnancy
    • Looking at the health of your placenta
    • Investigating any pregnancy complications you may be experiencing, such as abnormal bleeding
    • Determining your babys position as birth draws closer

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    What Will Happen At The Scan

    Most scans are carried out by sonographers. The scan is carried out in a dimly lit room so the sonographer is able to get good images of your baby.

    You’ll be asked to lie on your back and reveal your tummy.

    The sonographer will put ultrasound gel on your tummy, which makes sure there is good contact between the machine and your skin.

    The sonographer passes a probe over your tummy and a picture of the baby will appear on the ultrasound screen.

    During the exam, sonographers need to keep the screen in a position that gives them a good view of the baby.

    The sonographer will carefully examine your baby’s body. The sonographer may need to apply slight pressure on your tummy to get the best views of the baby.

    How Much Do Pregnancy Ultrasounds Cost

    Ultrasounds arent cheap and can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Thankfully most insurance companies cover them as part of your prenatal care.

    Its important to talk to your insurance provider if you are unsure about what is covered under your plan.

    This post was all about the pregnancy ultrasound schedule.

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    Ultrasounds use sound waves to capture images of a fetus inside the uterus. Many women have ultrasounds during the first trimester, which is helpful to estimate how far along a pregnancy is. Several providers told STAT they arent troubled by women who skip that dating scan. But they strongly recommend all women have whats known as the anatomy scan, or an ultrasound around 20 weeks gestation to look at fetal development and check for any problems. Some women including those with high-risk pregnancies or women carrying twins have more scans.

    Ultrasounds have been used to monitor pregnancy for decades, and theres no meaningful evidence that they can cause harm to a developing fetus. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes that no links have been found between ultrasound and birth defects, childhood cancer, or developmental problems later in life.

    But experts cant rule out the possibility that future research could point to possible effects, which is why they recommend that pregnant women only get ultrasounds that are necessary and are performed by trained providers as part of their prenatal care.

    We know that its safe to the degree that nearly every person gets one or two scans in their pregnancy, and we havent seen any untoward effects, said Nathan.

    Risk During Pregnancy Ultrasound Scan #: Fetal Size

    Pregnant Woman Having An Ultrasound Stock Photo

    A common worry that people have, where an ultrasound is perceived to be helpful, is the fetal size. There is concern that the baby will be too big to come out of mom, or too small at times. After detection of a perceived large baby, there might be interventions like induction and cesarean.

    This concern is not evidence based as ultrasounds can be up to 2 pounds off when checking the fetal size. This means that there is no way to really know if your baby is too big or too small using ultrasounds.

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