..where little means a lot



Ultrasound also called sonogram, you are usually offered 2 routine scans during pregnancy. Sometimes it can be more than 2 depending on your situation. The first scan can be a thrilling and revealing moment as you and your partner catch the first glimpse of your baby. Scans are screening tests that your doctor uses to see your baby through sound waves which creates visual images of the uterus, baby and placenta that can be seen on a monitor. Information on the progress of your pregnancy and baby's well being are derived from these scans.

Early pregnancy scan

  • It is usually offered between weeks 11 and 14 to determine your due date. The scan at this stage is more accurate than counting from your first day of your last period (LMP).
  • The scan offers you a chance to see your baby for the first time
  • Scan done before this will be through the vagina aptly called a transvaginal scan.
  • You will not be able to determine the sex of the baby at this stage.
  • This scan is used to rule out etopic pregnancy and threatened miscarriage
  • This scan is used to help determine if you need further tests such as nuchal fold scan or CVS
  • This scan is used to determine if you are carrying more than one baby

Second pregnancy scan

This scan is used to detect developmental problems such as spina bifida, cleft palate and misshapen feet through measurements and observation in baby. Since it is non-invasive you will need further tests to confirm these problems

  • This scan is usually offered between weeks 18-20
  • Scans can pick up the presence of fibroids, which are in any case harmless
  • You are scanned to check if you are carrying more than one baby
  • You are scanned to check on baby's heartbeat
  • You are scanned to determine the sex of the baby; if you don't wish to know inform the sonographer beforehand
  • You are scanned to check on baby's size and age
  • You are scanned to check on the location of placenta; to see if its covering your cervix
  • You are scanned to check on amniotic fluid volume; to see if its too little or too much
  • You are scanned to check on the presence of physical abnormalities

The Process...

  • You will need to lie down on a couch and the sonographer will then apply some gel on your exposed belly.
  • You will be required to drink lots of water so that you have a full bladder to capture clearer images
  • The technician will then press down the transducer on your stomach and slide it back and forth.
  • A scan usually takes about 20 minutes; it is painless though the full bladder may cause discomfort
  • Clarity of images depend on baby's position and its movements
  • Before week 13, head to bottom measurement is taken
  • After week 13, the head circumference and one of the bones in the leg will be measured
  • You will probably be given a report and an explanation
  • You will be given a printout of baby's image as a memento; there may be a charge involved

Reasons for extra scans

  • To assess infertility problems
  • Detection of abdominal problems such as etopic pregnancy
  • To check on the possibilities of a threatened miscarriage
  • To check for multiple pregnancy
  • To identify fetal abnormalities such as spina bifida
  • To monitor baby during special tests such as amnio
  • To confirm if baby is in the head-down position after week 36
  • To find out if baby is ready for birth if pregnancy is overdue
  • To assist in operations performed on baby while still in the uterus

Transvaginal scan

  • A scanner is placed into the vagina instead of over the abdomen
  • It is more invasive and is only used when clarity is affected in the transabdominal scan
  • Clarity can be disturbed if your bladder is not full enough or if you are overweight
  • If ultrasound is done before the week 11, it would be transvaginal

Ultrasounds are Safe...

Ultrasounds bring no long term or short term harm to both mother and baby. In fact it is a useful scanning tool. Because the waves are of very low intensity there is no danger in repeating the scans, if your condition merits it. However if your pregnancy is normal, the 2 routine scans as part of antenatal care should suffice. More scans are only necessary if you have a medical condition.

Related Article of Ultrasound

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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