OUR TREATMENTS AND SERVICES
WHAT IS AN ULTRASOUND?
An ultrasound is a medical scan that uses sound waves set at a high frequency to capture live images from the inside of your body, and is also known as sonography.
The technology is similar to that used by radar and sonar, which is used by the military to detect ships and planes. Ultrasounds allow your doctor to see problems with tissues, organs, and blood vessels without having to make an incision.
Ultrasound is the preferred method for viewing a developing foetus during pregnancy as it does not use radiation like other imaging techniques.
WHAT DOES AN ULTRASOUND SCAN FOR?
There are three main types of ultrasound offered during pregnancy that will scan for different things.
A dating scan will usually be performed during your first visit to confirm your due date if you are unsure of your date of conception and to confirm the presence of a foetal heartbeat. The ultrasound is usually offered between 10 and 13 weeks gestation, but can be done after six weeks.
The next scan that may be offered to you is a nuchal translucency scan, which can help work out the risk of your baby having a chromosomal abnormality such as Down syndrome. This may also be done as part of a dating scan or can be done separately. You may be advised to have a blood test in conjunction with the scan.
The third scan is an anomaly scan, a detailed ultrasound scan that will look at your baby’s body and observe the umbilical cord, a portion of the placenta, your uterus and cervix, and the amniotic fluid around your baby. This scan is generally done at around 18-20 weeks gestation.
Ultrasounds may be performed more often during pregnancy if:
- You have any complications during your pregnancy
- Your healthcare professional is concerned about the health of your baby
- You are having twins
HOW IS AN ULTRASOUND PERFORMED?
Most of the ultrasounds that are performed after 10 weeks of pregnancy are performed abdominally. Some gel will be placed on your belly by the sonographer, who will rub a hand-held device across your belly to get a picture of your unborn baby.
You may need to drink a few glasses of water before the abdominal ultrasound in your first trimester so your bladder will push your uterus up and allow the baby to be seen more clearly in the ultrasound image.
The sonographer will sometimes need to perform a vaginal ultrasound. The probe that is used does not need to go very deep and doesn’t not usually cause any discomfort. A vaginal ultrasound may be recommended if:
- The baby is deep inside your abdomen
- You are less than eight weeks pregnant
- You are overweight
ARE ULTRASOUND SCANS NECESSARY?
It is up to you whether or not you have ultrasound scans during pregnancy. It can be reassuring to know if you have a healthy pregnancy and can help you prepare for the birth. It may also be possible to arrange immediate specialist care if any abnormalities are found, which can help you manage your pregnancy and prepare for life after the birth.
If you aren’t sure if you want to have an ultrasound scan, you should discuss it with your midwife or doctor to help you make the best decision.
If you have any further queries, our friendly team at My Obg will be happy to assist you. Call us on (03) 9731 1006 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org