Ultrasounds in pregnancy

Pregnancy ultrasounds can be very useful and provide a lot of information. Ultrasounds can be done at various times in the pregnancy to obtain different information about the pregnancy and the baby’s health. Commonly, ultrasounds are performed at 7 weeks, 12 weeks, 19 weeks, 28 weeks, 34 weeks and at other times if deemed necessary.

During pregnancy, being a special time in a woman’s life, it’s important to ensure that all pregnancy ultrasounds are performed by a practice that specialises in women’s ultrasound. This ensures that your ultrasound images are interpreted by an Obstetrician who specialises in obstetric and gynaecological ultrasound, minimising the chance of errors and the need for repeat scans.

Some obstetricians purchase ultrasound machines and perform ultrasounds at every (or most) pregnancy visits in their private rooms. Please understand that the equipment used and the skill of the obstetrician will vary, and if your obstetrician is scanning you at every visit you would still need to attend an ultrasound clinic for specialised scans.

What can a dating scan show?

An ultrasound can reveal the size of the baby, give an estimated due date, let you know whether you are carrying one baby or twins (or more), establish that the pregnancy is in your uterus and not your fallopian tubes and also show that your baby’s heart is beating.

What would the 12-week scan show?

A 12-week scan is done as part of screening for Downs Syndrome. Most ultrasound practices will combine an ultrasound with blood tests to reveal a woman’s age-related risk along with her actual risk.

A morphology scan is attended at 18-19 weeks. This is a very detailed scan. The purpose of this scan is to detect any obvious physical abnormalities in the baby. The sonographer will spend a lot of time examining all the organs of the baby, and in particular the heart and brain. This is because these are major organs in the baby.

The morphology scan will also show the position of the placenta and where in the placenta the cord is inserted.

Ultrasounds later in pregnancy

Ultrasounds may be performed later in pregnancy for many reasons:

Your midwife or obstetrician is concerned that your baby is not growing well Your midwife or obstetrician is concerned that there is not enough – or too much – fluid around the baby You have pre-eclampsia and your care provider wishes to see that your baby is ok You have had some bleeding To check on the position of the placenta

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