Friends and relatives of a pregnant mom are treated to pictures and videos of the growing fetus these days through social media platforms like Facebook, so it’s no surprise that ultrasounds are done earlier and earlier. An ultrasound can tell you many secrets like the gender of the baby, which only decades ago had to be a surprise.
In addition to the baby’s gender, an ultrasound can inform both the parents-to-be and the physician about the health of the fetus.
Value Of The Ultrasound
The main purpose of the ultrasound is to monitor normal fetal development and screen for any problems or abnormalities. Every mom-to-be wants to be assured that her baby is developing normally. After decades of advancements in ultrasound technology, it is now possible to see the living fetus and view the baby’s growth through each stage.
Also commonly known as a sonogram, the number of ultrasounds varies from woman to woman, but most have at least one. This painless, non-invasive diagnostic procedure provides information through each stage of the pregnancy.
Expectant moms with Type 1 diabetes or those with high blood pressure may need more frequent ultrasounds, perhaps even weekly. If the mother has a history of developing ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids, or has had a prenatal test showing any abnormality, then more ultrasounds are likely to be ordered.
Types Of Ultrasounds
Although it’s not possible to detect all birth defects, the ultrasound is an indispensable tool for helping diagnose health issues early on. There are various types of ultrasounds that accomplish different things as outlined below:
Transabdominal ultrasounds produce a 2D picture.
A transvaginal sonogram is used if problems are detected, and the physician desires a better view.
A 3D ultrasound allows the doctor to see the width, height and depth of the fetus, and it is helpful in diagnosing any problems.
A 4D ultrasound creates moving videos and provides a clearer image of the baby’s face using specialized equipment.
A fetal echocardiography checks for congenital heart defects and provides the size, shape, and structure of the heart.
What Can Be Learned In The First Trimester
During the earliest stages of pregnancy, an ultrasound will tell you first and foremost IF you are pregnant. Once this is confirmed, the ultrasound will provide an accurate gestational age and due date. The fetal heart begins to beat at 6 weeks of age and doctors can observe if the pregnancy is progressing normally at this stage.
Should there be any bleeding, doctors can determine if it is a benign issue or a possible miscarriage.
In addition, during these first 12 weeks your obstetrician can examine the uterus, cervix, and ovaries. During this time they can check for an ectopic pregnancy, or any other abnormal growth of the fetus.
The Second & Third Trimester
At 12-24 weeks through to week 40 doctors can observe the following:
- Check for Down Syndrome
- Monitor if the fetus is getting enough oxygen and measure the level of amniotic fluid
- Check for any structural abnormalities
- Look for any tumors in the uterus of ovaries
- Confirm multiple pregnancies
- Check for any blood flow problems
Having a child in the 21st century gives new parents and physicians a birds eye view of the growing baby. If you are expecting, contact Genesee Valley OB/GYN today at (585) 641-0399 to learn about what ultrasound options may be right for you!