If you ever have felt unsure what you’re looking at when viewing an ultrasound, you’re not alone. While having an ultrasound is important to determine potential problems, there are also important reasons to have an ultrasound in all three trimesters of pregnancy.
If you are unsure of your last menstrual period, a first-trimester ultrasound can confirm the size of the fetus and determine an accurate due date. A first-trimester ultrasound can also determine the number of fetuses, placental location, and even early detection of a heartbeat. If you are undergoing prenatal testing, a special ultrasound called an NT or Nuchal Translucency can determine the thickness of your baby’s neck–or a potential indication of Down Syndrome as early as ten week’s gestation.
During your second trimester, your provider usually orders an ultrasound called a Fetal Survey. This is a complete anatomy check that determines the normalcy of any and all anatomical structures in the developing fetus. The fetal survey confirms the baby’s gender. Sometimes, a routine follow up fetal survey is necessary if the baby’s position is hiding some critical anatomical structures such as; spine, heart valves, and lips. While a second-trimester ultrasound can determine baby’s position, it is usually confirmed in the third trimester.
Your third-trimester ultrasound is critical for determining the baby’s position. If your baby is breech, your physician may discuss the likelihood of scheduling a Caesarian section. A third-trimester ultrasound can also measure placenta location and fluid amounts, a critical component to the oxygenation of your baby. If you are a high-risk patient and have pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, a third trimester US can also determine the EFW or Estimated Fetal Weight.
There are many reasons to have an ultrasound performed in every trimester. They can reveal critical components to your pregnancy that confirm your due date, baby’s weight, gender, but most importantly potential alterations your provider will make to your prenatal care. If you are currently pregnant and are considering prenatal testing such as the Materniti 21, an ultrasound plays a crucial part in the accuracy of these tests.