Ultrasound is an imaging technique and is done in pregnancy to see various things like development of baby in womb of mother. Sometimes whole abdomen ultrasound is prescribed by doctor especially in first trimester of pregnancy to see various abdominal organs if the mother has any specific complaints other than related to pregnancy.
1. Types of ultrasound in pregnancy
- Transvaginal Scans.
- Standard Baby Ultrasounds.
- Advanced Baby Ultrasounds.
- Doppler Ultrasounds.
- 3D Baby Ultrasounds.
- 4D Baby Ultrasounds.
- Fetal Echocardiography.
2. Transabdominal or Transvaginal ultrasound
In some cases , a pregnancy ultrasound is done vaginally
- In early pregnancy to see heart beat of baby.
- To see the length of cervix especially if a patient gives a history of second trimester abortions.
- If heterotopic or ectopic pregnancyis suspected on trans abdominal ultrasound,to see clearly whether pregnancy is intrauterine or not.
3. Pre requisites for a pregnancy ultrasound
- The patient is not required to be fasting for any of the pregnancy ultrasound. She can take her usual meal and the ultrasounds can be done any time of the day.
- Full bladder is needed especially in first trimester ultrasounds and when we have to see scar thickness in previous cesarean patients.So you have to drink 3-4 glasses of water 1 hour before going for ultra sound.
4. What are the importance of ultrasounds in pregnancy
Ultrasounds are one of the most important tests done in pregnancy. They are done to determine if there is any complication in pregnancy, to see the growth of baby and other parameters. Lets see what are the main types of ultrasounds done in pregnancy.
List of scan during pregnancy
- Dating Scan
- NTNB Scan or Level 1 Scan
- Anomaly scan or Level 2 Scan
- Growth Scan
5. DATING SCAN
- It is usually done at 6-7 weeks of pregnancy when the pregnancy is diagnosed. It is done to determine the gestational age of baby especially if the woman has previous history of prolonged mensural cycles. Other information which we can get from this ultrasound is :-
- the intrauterine status of pregnancy i.e it is not an ectopic pregnancy. ( what is ectopic pregnancy ? You can read about this in my next blog)
- baby’s heart beat can be seen
- whether its a single or multiple pregnancy.
6. NTNB SCAN or LEVEL 1 SCAN
It is done at 11-13 weeks of pregnancy .In this ultrasound ,nasal bone of baby is seen and nuchal translucency is determined. It is done to see if there is any risk of Downs Syndrome or any other soft marker for any other chromosomal abnormality. Combined with dual marker test this NTNB scan gives a picture of risk of trisomy 21 or trisomy 13/17.
7. ANOMALY SCAN or LEVEL 2 SCAN
It is usually done at 18-20 weeks of pregnancy. It is the detailed study of all the internal organs of baby.It is done to see that the baby does not have any congenital anomaly, but not all congenital anomalies can not be detected on this scan. Some may be missed , thats the limitation of any machine. This scan also tells about the location of placenta, amniotic fluid volume
8. GROWTH SCAN
It is done at 30-32 weeks or may be earlier if your doctor suspects any growth lag.Its done to check the growth of baby, fetal weight, position of placenta and amniotic fluid volume. Doctor may get a doppler ultrasound done if needed after clinical examination.
9. What to expect as normal result?
To expect the normal pregnancy following results are expected from ultrasound scan.
- The weight of the baby corresponds with the gestational age of baby.
- Amniotic fluid volume is adequate according to the gestation of baby.
- Placenta is not low lying.
- Position of baby is cephalic that is head down.
- No congenital abnormalities in baby
10. Risk of ultrasound in pregnancy ?
One thing come in the mind Is the ultrasound safe for my baby. The answer to this here is that unlike other scan like CT scan, MRI or X ray ,there are no known risks from the sound waves used in an ultrasound scan.
Current ultrasound techniques are safe and there is no risk to baby .It uses low power sound waves On the other hand, it provides very useful information about the baby which is very important for the proper management of Pregnancy and delivery.
See Next: Tips for Pregnant Women