Tests and screenings
When pregnant, all expectant mothers would like to know about the well-being of their babies. It is necessary to go for routine health check-ups during pregnancy to learn about the baby’s movements and health. Ultrasound scan is one such routine medical check-up performed on pregnant women to ensure the baby’s health. Here is all about ultrasound scan and its importance during pregnancy:
What is Ultrasound Scan?
The practice of examining pregnant women using ultrasound is known as obstetric sonography. The ultrasound scan is a standard painless procedure used to visualize the fetus inside the uterus using sound waves to create images of the organs, bones and structures. The sound waves usually bounce off the baby as echoes which are turned into images on the monitor.
As bones and other hard tissues reflect more echoes, they appear white in the image while soft tissues appear grey. The sound waves pass through fluids like amniotic fluid and appear dark due to absence of echoes.
Why is it required?
The pregnancy ultrasound scan is required for various purposes such as:
- To detect any abnormality in the growth of the fetus
- To check the heartbeat of the baby
- Detect if you are pregnant with one baby, twins or more
- Check out the cause of any bleeding during pregnancy
- Find out the date of pregnancy by measuring the size of the baby
- To check if the embryo is implanted in a normal position or outside the uterus (fallopian tube)
- To ensure that all the baby organs are normal
- Diagnose any developmental abnormality in the baby such as Spina bifida
- Assess the baby’s growth rate by comparing over several scan results
- Check the amount of amniotic fluid and the position of the placenta
- To detect the gender of the baby
- To assess the risk of Down syndrome and other abnormalities during pregnancy.
When is it performed?
- The first pregnancy ultrasound scan is performed around 8-13 weeks to confirm the pregnancy and to arrive at the due date.
- The second ultrasound scan is performed between week 18 and week 21 to see if the baby is normal and without any structural abnormality.
- The doctor might recommend for a growth scan in the third trimester between week 28 and week 40.