Ultrasound is a diagnostic method that uses high frequency sound waves to visualize internal organs. From the moment you find out you are pregnant, ultrasound will become an important part of your pregnancy examinations. It is possible to get information about the condition, health and development of the baby by performing ultrasonography checks at certain time intervals, at different periods of pregnancy. For example, while it is possible to evaluate the heartbeat and the size of the sac in the first months of pregnancy with ultrasound controls, it is also possible to evaluate the size of the sac in the 5th month of pregnancy. Detailed assessments of the baby’s weight, the amniotic fluid the baby is in, the structure of its organs and the condition of the placenta can be carried out by ultrasound.
Ultrasound checks have no known harm to the baby’s health. Since it works with sound waves and does not contain radiation, it does not harm the baby or the expectant mother. Ultrasound during pregnancy can be performed to answer the following questions;
- Is there a pregnancy? In the uterus? Ectopic pregnancy?
- Is the pregnancy healthy?
- How many months old? How many weeks?
- What is the baby’s estimated weight?
- Is the baby’s nuchal translucency normal?
- How’s the baby’s posture?
- Is the placenta normal?
- Is the amniotic fluid normal?
- Does the baby have any anomalies?
- What is the sex of the baby?
- Are there abnormalities in the uterus and ovaries?
How Often Is Ultrasound Performed During Pregnancy?
Once the pregnancy has started, ultrasound can be performed at different frequencies depending on the course of the pregnancy and the risk factors detected. Generally, when the pregnancy is first detected, then the heartbeat is detected, then the first trimester scan between 11 – 14 weeks, between 20 – 24 weeks (detailed ultrasonography), 32. week and 38. Ultrasound is performed by gynecologists and obstetricians during the week.
Types of Ultrasound during Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the expectant mother can undergo different types of ultrasound. The most common type of ultrasound is transabdominal ultrasound, which is performed through the abdomen. Transvaginal ultrasound (vaginal ultrasound) can also be performed through the vagina from below. Contrary to popular belief, vaginal ultrasound does not harm the pregnancy or the baby. Vaginal ultrasound does not increase the risk of miscarriage. We can use vaginal ultrasound in cases that cannot be clarified by abdominal ultrasound.
Obstetric ultrasound can be performed in every month of pregnancy. It is done to monitor the baby’s heartbeat, measure the gestational sac, and in later months to examine the baby’s weight, development, internal organs and the location of the placenta. Vaginal ultrasound; It is a type of ultrasound that is generally preferred in the first months of pregnancy to evaluate the gestational sac, possible bleeding areas, and the threat of miscarriage, if any. In more advanced periods, we may prefer vaginal ultrasound to measure the cervix and sometimes to determine the exact location of the placenta. It shows the baby and heartbeat in more detail than obstetric ultrasound. There is no harm in applying it in any month of pregnancy. Apart from these, detailed ultrasound is performed between 20-24 weeks of pregnancy. The purpose of a detailed ultrasound is to check whether the baby has a congenital anomaly (disability), as well as to check the baby’s development and possible adverse conditions. A detailed ultrasound is done through the abdomen and takes a relatively long time.
I recommend that you take your doctor’s recommendations into consideration and follow up throughout your pregnancy.