Ultrasound During Pregnancy: Types and Trimester-by-Trimester Breakdown

 

Are you freaking out because you just missed your period? Do your breasts feel sore? Feeling completely drained and exhausted without physically exerting yourself? Did you just vomit and can’t recall anything you did that might have caused it?

Well, if that’s the case, and if you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant, then you might want to take a pregnancy test.

Now is the time to make sure that you take the utmost care of yourself for the better part of the next nine months or so to make sure you give birth to a healthy baby. This involves following a very restricted diet plan, making multiple visits to the doctor, and getting a lot of ultrasounds done, which we will be focusing on regarding its importance during a pregnancy. So, let’s begin.

Types of Ultrasound

Transabdominal Ultrasound

This is the most common type of ultrasound procedure which doctors opt for. In this procedure, the pregnant woman is asked to lie on her back on the gurney while the gynecologist covers the stomach area with a special gel which allows the ultrasound waves to penetrate into the body more easily to provide a better picture. This entire procedure takes no more than 20 minutes to complete.

Transvaginal Ultrasound

This is a more complex procedure which involves the doctor inserting a transducer into the birth canal (vagina). If you are opting for this type of ultrasound, make sure your stomach is empty or partially full at best before going for the test. This test takes 20 minutes to complete.

However, there are some other types of ultrasounds which your doctor might suggest in order to help them learn more about your baby, which varies on a case-by-case basis. They include;

  • Doppler Ultrasound: This type of ultrasound is usually recommended by doctors when they need to monitor the blood flow of the baby to examine if they are growing at an abnormal rate.
  • 3D Ultrasound: It might be performed to ensure that the baby’s organs are developing normally, or ifa Transabdominal or Transvaginal Ultrasound does not provide the doctor with a clear picture.
  • 4D Ultrasound: Doctors might offer this on the insistence of the parents as it provides them with a video showing the baby’s movements.

Ultrasound During Pregnancy

An ultrasound examination is an ever-present part of your routine if you are pregnant. The procedure is performed almost every time you visit your gynaecologist until you finally give birth. Let’s take a look at just what you can learn about your baby through an ultrasound during each trimester. (maybe this should be further up)

First Trimester (Weeks 1-12)
  • Baby’s heartbeat.
  • Estimate age of the foetus (baby) by measuring the length.
  • Determine an accurate due date.
Second Trimester (Weeks 13-28)
  • Baby’s heartbeat.
  • Signs of any abnormalities in the organs.
  • Any birth defects.
  • State of the mother’s placenta and amniotic fluid levels.
  • The sex of the baby (up to 95% accurate).
Third Trimester (Weeks 29-40)

Although doctors don’t run ultrasounds in the last trimester, the need can arise for various reasons including;

  • If the mother is over 35 years of age.
  • Low amniotic fluid levels.
  • Bleeding.
  • Contractions before expiry date.

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