Ultrasounds During Pregnancy


(theatrical music) – During your pregnancy,
you may be offered a number of different types of ultrasound
evaluations of your fetus. Ultrasonography is
considered safe in pregnancy with no long-term concerns for
the well-being of your baby when used appropriately and
for medical indications. The most common types of ultrasound you will receive during
your pregnancy are: dating ultrasound, nuchal
translucency ultrasound, anatomy ultrasound,
fetal growth ultrasound, and amniotic fluid index ultrasound. Often in your first prenatal appointment, you will be given a dating ultrasound. This ultrasound is usually done vaginally because the pregnancy is too small to see reliably transabdominally. During this ultrasound, your provider will be able to establish if the pregnancy is viable, what the gestational
age of the pregnancy is, and your likely estimated due date. Often, a fetal heartbeat
can be heard as well. If you decide to move
forward with genetic testing, you will be offered another ultrasound between 10 and 14 weeks gestational age usually done by an ultrasound specialist called a nuchal translucency ultrasound. During this transabdominal ultrasound, early anatomy of the heart and brain of your fetus can be seen. The fluid in the base
of the neck of the fetus can be measured which is
the nuchal translucency. In a fetus with Down Syndrome or other chromosome abnormalities, there will be an increased fluid which results in thicker measurement. Using this measurement in conjunction with a noninvasive blood test, you can be given a risk estimate for the chances of having
a baby with Down Syndrome or other genetic disorders. Between 18 to 22 weeks, you will be offered an anatomy ultrasound. Even if you opt out of genetic screening, this anatomy ultrasound is
important for all patients so that you can ensure you
will be delivering your baby in the right setting if he or she needs extra care and support. Similar to the nuchal translucency, the anatomy ultrasound
is usually performed by a perinatologist or
ultrasound specialist rather than by your usual provider. This ultrasound usually
takes around an hour and carefully evaluates
the anatomy of the brain, heart, abdomen, limbs,
major organs, and placenta. If you have risk factors, you may also get a transvaginal ultrasound as part of this evaluation to
check the length of the cervix which can help predict your
risk of a preterm delivery. This is also the ultrasound when you can find out
the gender of your baby if you desire to know. While signs of a genetic anomaly may show up on the anatomy ultrasound, it is not considered diagnostic
for any genetic issue. Only an amniocentesis which removes fluid from
around the baby for testing can give you a definitive diagnosis. If you have risk factors such as diabetes, chronic hypertension,
autoimmune disease, or others, it may be recommended for you to have growth scans of your fetus at four to six-week intervals. You can discuss this with your provider. Additionally, if for any reason during your routine appointments
your provider is concerned that your abdominal growth does not match your
fetus’ gestational age, he or she may order a growth
ultrasound at that time. A growth ultrasound can
estimate the weight of the fetus and evaluate for normal
amniotic fluid production which is a sign of a healthy pregnancy. During your last few weeks of pregnancy, if you have risk factors
such as being over age 35 or other medical conditions, you may be a candidate
for antenatal testing. Antenatal testing usually
consists of putting the fetus on a fetal heart rate monitor for approximately 20 to 40 minutes. This is noninvasive and it documents the normal
fluctuations in the heart rate which your provider can use to interpret how well the placenta is functioning. Additionally, measuring the
amniotic fluid around the fetus with ultrasound helps to evaluate
the health of the placenta oxygenating your baby. These tests help reduce the
risk of having a stillbirth but may also result in the recommendation for induction of labor if
they are found to be abnormal. We are fortunate to live in a country where the standard of care
is for all pregnant women to get indicated ultrasounds
during their pregnancy. If you are unsure if you should be getting one of the above types of
ultrasound evaluations, please be sure to discuss
this with your provider. Here at UC San Diego, ultrasound during pregnancy is
one of the many tools we have to help you have a healthy
pregnancy and delivery.

3 Replies to “Ultrasounds During Pregnancy”

  1. Too many white priveliged women who are the cause of the problem of whiteness and white nationalism by having children. This must be discouraged and as we focus on the democratic partys goal of eliminating whiteness.

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