Most parents are thrilled when they can see their baby with the ultrasound for the first time. At the beginning of pregnancy, usually not much can be seen and only the trained eye can explain where what can be seen. Later in the pregnancy, the baby grows. More and more can be seen and soon the little body doesn’t quite fit on the screen. Expectant parents are often worried, however. What happens during an ultrasound in pregnancy, is it dangerous for your baby or can it be used without hesitation?
Table of contents
Ultrasound During Pregnancy: A Chance To Identify Risks Early On
During pregnancy, ultrasound makes it possible to detect and intervene in risks more quickly and at an early stage. A total of three major screening examinations with ultrasound are scheduled during pregnancy. The costs for these three examinations are also paid by the health insurance companies. During each examination, not only the mother but also her baby is checked for any discrepancies. Thanks to medical progress, ultrasound can be used to intervene very quickly in case of complications. However, even though ultrasound in pregnancy is not considered dangerous or disturbing for the baby, medical professionals always advise that it should only be performed by trained professionals.
Ultrasound During Pregnancy: What Is Examined
There are a total of three major screening examinations with ultrasound in pregnancy. The first major examination takes place in the first trimester between the 8th SSW and the 12th SSW. The second is performed between the 19th SSW and the 22nd SSW and the last in between the 29th SSW and the 32nd SSW. During all three examinations, not only the mother but also the baby is examined very thoroughly. The mother is weighed, her blood pressure is measured, and a blood and urine test is performed. The urine test can detect protein, sugar, and germs in the urine. The position of the uterus is also determined. The gynecologist feels the distance from the upper edge of the uterus to the navel, also called the fundus position, through the abdominal wall. The ultrasound, which can still take place vaginally during the first examination, is used to determine the crown-rump length of the baby. In the beginning, it is not yet so easy to measure the baby from crown to heel, so until the 20th SSW the baby is still measured up to the rump. In addition, the position, its movements, and also heart activity are checked. The gynecologist also determines whether it is a singleton or multiple pregnancies. If there is more than one baby, both the mom and the baby need careful monitoring. Ultrasound is also used to check the development of the brain, organs, and limbs. During the second major screening with an ultrasound between the 19th and 22nd week of pregnancy, the mother can choose between a simple ultrasound or also an extended ultrasound. In the simple ultrasound, not only the size of the head, abdomen but also the length of the femurs and the exact position of the placenta is determined during pregnancy. The extended ultrasound provides a closer look at the child’s organs and limbs. Based on this examination, malformations or even complications can be specifically identified.
Photo: melking / bigstockphoto.com