How many Ultrasounds do you need during Pregnancy?

Posted on : September 2, 2021 by Clinic One on Women's Health

During the ultrasound, sound waves of high frequency are transmitted through the uterus of pregnant women. These sound waves send the signal back to the machine which converts them into the images of your developing child. 

These images of the ultra-sound can provide your doctor with various ranges of information such as the growth of your baby, estimation of the due date, detection abnormalities, knowing if you have twins, knowing the position of your placenta, and determining the sex of your baby.

Ultrasounds are a regular medical practice in terms of prenatal medical care for pregnant women, where they could get the joyful glances of their developing fetus. Although, amidst, all the excitement and joys involved in the process, medical guidelines state that pregnant women actually need very few scans. Ultrasounds are only recommended when there are valid medical reasons and not otherwise. 

Even though, there seem to be no documented negative effects of ultrasound procedures, on the fetus as it does not involve exposer to harmful radiation. But still, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, (ACOG), discourages the use of it for non-medical purposes. It is because, while there are no confirmed negative biological effects caused by the scans, we need to take heed of possible future complications.

In normal cases, only 2 ultrasounds are recommended for women during their pregnancy. Firstly, in the first trimester to confirm the due date. The first trimester is the allocated time frame which begins on the first day of your last period and ends at week 12. Secondly, ultrasound is also performed generally between (18-22) weeks to confirm the normal anatomy and sex of the fetus. 

But, in case of any discrepancies, in these initial ultrasounds, or in the fetus size, structure, and anatomy, repeat ultrasounds, are recommended. Moreover, if women have any medical condition, such as diabetes, or hypertension, it could also warrant some more additional scans.

Similarly, 2D ultrasounds are the safest radiological modality that has been offered to pregnant women currently. But 3D ultrasound (high quality and life-like) and 4D ultrasound (moving picture) ultrasound have now been available in numerous medical centers which may accurately detect certain fetal abnormalities and defects more accurately. 

References:

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, (2018), Ultrasounds During Pregnancy: How many and How Often?

Tricia O Brien and Nicole Harris (2021), Pregnancy Ultrasound Week by Week, Explore Parents Magazine

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