What is an ultrasound scan?
Ultrasound is a medical imaging technique commonly used during pregnancy to visualize the developing fetus. It uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of the fetus and placenta, which can help doctors monitor the growth and development of the baby, as well as assess the health of the mother and the pregnancy. Ultrasound can also be used to determine the due date, evaluate the position of the fetus, detect multiple pregnancies, and check for any abnormalities or complications.
Ultrasound scans can be done using an abdominal probe that would be placed on your tummy or with a transvaginal probe that would view the uterus and surrounding structures through the vagina. Talk to your doctor to understand about specific techniques to ensure that your apprehensions are cleared and that you are comfortable for the procedure.
Are ultrasound scans safe?
Ultrasound scans are generally considered safe for both the mother and the baby during pregnancy. There is no evidence of harm to the fetus or mother from exposure to the low levels of energy used during an ultrasound scan.
However, as with any medical procedure, it is important to follow guidelines and recommendations from your gynecologist or sonologist to ensure the safe use of ultrasound. This includes avoiding unnecessary scans and understanding the need and indications for specific scans.
How many ultrasound scans are required during my pregnancy?
The number of ultrasound scans during pregnancy can vary depending on several factors, including the mother’s health and pregnancy history, the baby’s development, and any complications or risks. In a typical, low-risk pregnancy, one or two ultrasound scans may be done.
The first ultrasound, usually performed between weeks 8 and 14 of pregnancy, is called the dating scan. It helps determine the due date and confirms the presence of a viable pregnancy.
The second ultrasound, called the anomaly scan, is usually done between weeks 18 and 21. This scan is used to check the baby’s growth and development, as well as to look for any structural abnormalities or complications.
In high-risk pregnancies, additional ultrasound scans may be recommended to closely monitor the baby’s growth and wellbeing. Your doctor or midwife will be able to advise you on the number of scans that are appropriate for your pregnancy.