One of the greatest joys for new parents is being able to see their baby through the miracle of an ultrasound. It was not invented until the late 50s, and today understanding the different types of pregnancy ultrasounds highlights how this technology has improved.
Some Facts About Scans
Scans of your developing baby have multiple purposes.
- To monitor the baby’s growth
- To determine if you are carrying multiple babies
- To see the placement of the placenta
- To determine the sex
- To detect any abnormalities
Most women need few scans unless a problem is discovered.
The Scan For Dating
This common ultrasound is to monitor the date you will deliver. It is only an estimate, but by taking measurements it can be predicted reliably. It will also check that the baby is in the right position and place and will note if there is more than one. It is usually performed between 8 – 14 weeks of pregnancy.
The Scan For Down’s, Edward’s, and Patau’s Syndrome
If parents wish to have this scan, it can be combined with the dating scan at 10 – 14 weeks. In addition to the scan, the sonographer will do a blood test plus a measurement of fluid at the back of the baby’s neck. This determines if there is “nuchal translucency.” The amount of fluid can help predict if there is a chance the baby may have one of these syndromes.
It is not 100% accurate, but the scan determines if a baby is statistically more likely to have a chromosomal abnormality.
Be advised that this scan is not always accurate, but it will give you the probability of what sex your baby will be.
A Mid-Pregnancy Scan
Taken between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy this scan will give you information about any structural or developmental abnormalities.
Third Trimester Scan
This ultrasound scan may be recommended based on results from earlier scans. It can be used to check that the baby is growing at a normal rate, looks at the placenta, and checks baby’s heartbeat and position.
You can ask to have a 3D scan between 26 and 30 weeks which shows more of how the baby looks rather than their insides. You should be able to see facial features with this scan.
Similar to the 3D scan, but this one shows a video of the baby.
This scan may be ordered by your physician which will show the size, shape and structure of your baby’s heart and determine if there is a congenital heart defect.
Talk with Virginia Women’s Health Associates about which ultrasounds you may need and why.