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June 9, 2023

All You Need to Know About Pregnancy Ultrasound Scan

Your gynecologist will ask you to get an ultrasound scan during the very first trimester. It is nothing to scared about. An ultrasound scan uses unique high-frequency sound waves that can’t be heard by human ears. These sound waves penetrate the womb and help create a grainy picture of your growing baby.


The primary reason for an ultrasound scan is to confirm the pregnancy, check for the number of fetuses growing, and estimate the due date. It is also used to monitor the baby’s heartbeat, or look for any anomalies in the womb. During the second and third trimesters, an ultrasound scan ensures the baby doesn’t have any congenital abnormalities. Other factors like problems in the placenta, signs of Down syndrome, amniotic fluid levels, pregnancy tumours, blood flow to the fetus, length of the cervix, or any signs of fetal distress are also monitored.


The scan is done by an ultrasound technician who will ask you to lie down on an examination table or bed. You will be given a hospital gown or asked to remove some of your clothing so that there is no hindrance during the scan. After you lie down on the bed, the technician will apply a water-based gel on your belly and pelvic region. It may feel cold against your skin. Then, s/he will use a transducer probe and pass it over your tummy to capture black and white images of your baby. You will be able to simultaneously see it play out on a screen connected to the probe. The technician may also ask you to hold your breath for a bit while they capture the image. Once the technician is satisfied with the picture, they will wipe off the gel and ask you to get dressed.


3D Ultrasound – This is a level-up from your regular 2D ultrasound scan. It allows the doctor to ascertain the height, width, and depth of the baby and also get a better look at your organs. The 3D ultrasound scan process is similar to the normal 2D one except that it uses a special probe and software to create 3D imaging.

4D Ultrasound – It is the most superior type of ultrasound imaging available, allowing the technician to capture videos of the fetus. A 4D ultrasound scan also offers better image quality and clarity.

Transvaginal Ultrasound –If your baby is still deep within the pelvis or you are overweight, your doctor may recommend a transvaginal ultrasound scan. It is also likely for most doctors to prescribe this scan in the early stages of pregnancy as it gives a clearer image of the fetus. A long and narrow probe covered with a condom or gel is inserted into your vagina during this scan. The probe is not inserted too deep and hence, doesn’t pose any risk to your baby.


6-9 weeks: You will be asked to get a dating and viability scan which tells you the due date. At this time, you will also be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat.

11-13 weeks: Nuchal translucency (NT) scan to check for Down Syndrome.

18-20 weeks: Anomaly test to check if your baby has any structural defects.

28-32 weeks: A growth scan may be advised to check the development of the baby.

36-40 weeks: Colour Doppler scan will check for any sign of fetal distress, the position of the umbilical cord, amniotic fluid levels, and blood flow to the baby’s organs.

We hope this information helps you stay prepared for your upcoming ultrasound scan.

Image source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vloFWz-041k

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