What is an ultrasound?
A prenatal ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic test that uses sound waves to create a visual image of the baby, placenta, and uterus, as well as other pelvic organs. It allows the doctor to collect valuable information about the progress of the pregnancy and the health of your baby.
During the test, the sonographer transmits the high-frequency sound waves through the uterus that bounce off the baby. A computer then translates all the echoing sounds into video images that tell the baby’s shape, movements and positions.
You may have an early ultrasound at 6 to 10 weeks to confirm the date of the pregnancy. Or you may not have one until the standard mid-pregnancy ultrasound which is done between 16 and 20 weeks.
What information will your mid-pregnancy ultrasound provide?
- During a usual mid-pregnancy ultrasound, the radiologist and your doctor will check your baby’s heartbeat. Your doctor will measure the number of beats per minute to make sure your baby’s heartbeat is normal.
- The doctor will measure your baby’s size across the skull, along the thigh bone and around the abdomen, to make sure your baby is growing normally. If this is your first ultrasound and your baby is two weeks bigger or smaller than he/she should be, your due day might be off and you will be given a new one.
- The ultrasound will also tell whether you are having more than one baby.
- It also checks the location of the placenta. If the placenta is covering the cervix, it may cause bleeding later in the pregnancy. If the doctor detects this condition, then he/she is most likely to order a follow-up scan early in your third trimester to check if the placenta is still covering the cervix.
- It will also assess the amount of amniotic fluid in the uterus. If you have too much or too little amniotic fluids, there may be a problem. Your doctor will ask you for regular follow ups to figure out the reason behind it.
- Your doctor will look closely at your baby’s basic anatomy, including head, neck, chest stomach, spine, bladder, kidneys arms, legs and umbilical cord to make sure everything is developing properly.
- If you wish to know the sex of your baby, ultrasound will tell you that, unless, your child’s hand is covering his/her genitals during the scan.