An ultrasound or a pregnancy ultrasound is a test where high-frequency sound waves are used to scan and provide the mother's belly to see the developing baby as well as the mother's reproductive organs.

The average number of ultrasounds done during pregnancy varies with each pregnancy, and a pregnancy ultrasound is done to help monitor the little one’s development and also screen for any possible problems that may arise. There are other prenatal ultrasounds besides the standard ultrasound, and they are more advanced such as the 3D ultrasound, 4D ultrasound and foetal echocardiography, which looks at the little one’s heart in detail.

What can I expect during a consultation?

During the consultation, Dr Tabane will apply a gel on your abdomen to improve the conduction of the sound waves and eliminate any air that may be between your skin and the transducer. Dr Tabane will move the transducer back and forth so that he may get a converted image on the monitor of the little one and the mother’s reproductive system and also measure the little one’s anatomy.

When are prenatal ultrasounds done?

When the pregnancy ultrasounds are done, it depends on why the health provider is recommending it.

  • First trimester – an ultrasound may be done early to either confirm or date the pregnancy or may be done during the 11th to the 14th week as part of the first-trimester screening test.
  • The second trimester – pregnancy ultrasounds are done between 18-20 weeks to measure the foetal anatomy and to confirm normal development and possibly show the little one’s gender.
  • The third trimester – during this pregnancy stage, the ultrasound is used to examine the placenta and the little one’s position. The ultrasound is used alongside the biophysical profile (BPP) to examine the little one’s breathing, amount of amniotic fluid, movement, tone and heart rate response.

In a nutshell, an ultrasound during pregnancy is done to reassure both the parents and the physician that the little one is growing and developing normally.

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