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Ultrasound in pregnancy
Obstetrics 

These days, ultrasound examinations have become part and parcel of both the diagnosis of and the ongoing assessment during pregnancy.

How do they work? Ultrasound machines basically work by creating sound waves. These waves travel through the body and bounce back off different structures they encounter. The machine analyses these waves and turns them into a picture (the first picture of your soon to be bouncing baby!)

It’s worth asking, however, when and how many ultrasounds should you have during your pregnancy?

First of all, ultrasound has been proven to be safe in pregnancy. There are some potential side effects to do with the heating, vibration and formation of gas bubbles.

Reassuringly the type of examinations performed in pregnancy have not been shown to cause any problems for developing babies.

Typically there will be three “routine” ultrasounds during a pregnancy.

The first is usually performed soon after the pregnancy is confirmed to both reassure that your pregnancy is progressing and to confirm your due date.

The second scan is most commonly done in combination with some blood tests at around 11-14 weeks if you choose to screen for chromosomal anomalies.

The third scan is performed between 17-22 weeks to examine your baby’s structure in detail and confirm the position of the placenta.

Sometimes more scans may be recommended if there are concerns about your baby’s size (either concerns that baby is too small or too big), if there is a history of growth problems from a previous pregnancy, or if you have a medical condition which may affect baby’s growth.

Twin pregnancies will typically have more ultrasounds to monitor the growth of the twins.

While it is wonderful to see your baby move around on the screen (and the 3D images available today are fantastic for the photo album) like most investigations, it is best that any scan should be clinically indicated and be of the shortest duration possible.

The above information doesn’t take the place of a medical consultation so please seek further advice if you have further concerns.

Download the PDF of this article.

Consulting Rooms
Consulting Rooms

Greenslopes Obstetrics & Gynaecology is closely aligned with the Greenslopes Private Hospital which opened Brisbane’s newest maternity facility in February 2013.

Pregnancy Pearls
Pregnancy Pearls

There are many questions and common issues that arise during pregnancy. Here are some short and helpful articles on many common pregnancy issues.

Pregnancy Checklist
Pregnancy Checklist

Congratulations on your pregnancy! If you would like some help thinking through some of the things you need to organise, I've put together a checklist to make sure the important things aren't missed.

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