What Ultrasound Tests Are Needed During Pregnancy?
You will see your doctor regularly for tests and ultrasound scans throughout your pregnancy. These appointments ensure that your fetus is developing as expected and there are no developing health issues for you or your baby. Ultrasound technology uses safe high-frequency soundwaves that bounce off the fetus’s tissue, bones, and fluid, then translates these into images for the doctor and the mother to see. Ultrasounds are conducted throughout the pregnancy, but you may also want to know what ultrasound tests are needed during pregnancy?
When Are Ultrasounds Conducted?
Not every woman will have the same number of ultrasounds at the same intervals in her pregnancy. Though the appointments are scheduled in regular intervals, the number and frequency of ultrasounds needed are dependent on whether you have given birth before and if you have any pre-existing or pregnancy-related health conditions. In the case of high-risk pregnancies, the doctor may book you for more regular appointments. Typically, ultrasounds are scheduled in four-to-six-week intervals until you reach the 28th week of pregnancy. Ultrasound growth scans can be scheduled as often as every two weeks and when we assess the blood flow from the placenta to your baby, these can be weekly.
What Ultrasound Tests are Conducted?
While pregnant, you will have ultrasounds in each of the three trimesters. During this time, you don’t only get to have a look at your baby; you will also get updates on their development and well-being. During these ultrasound scans, tests are also conducted, but what ultrasound tests are needed?
- To confirm pregnancy viability and location;
- To rule out a miscarriage;
- To rule out an ectopic pregnancy
If you do have an NIPT performed then:
- 1st trimester anatomy ultrasound scan is performed 12 to 14 weeks, during which the anatomical structures of the fetus will be reviewed
If you do not have an NIPT performed then:
- Nuchal translucency (NT scan) is performed 11+1 to 13+6 weeks, during which the fetus will be screened for chromosomal abnormalities like Down’s syndrome
- Check for abnormalities in the fetus 18 to 22 weeks
- Ensure the placenta is working and where in the uterus it is located
- Check how much amniotic fluid surrounds the fetus
- Find out the gender of the baby
- Check the weight and size of your baby
- See how the placenta is functioning
What Other Tests Need to Be Performed During Pregnancy?
While ultrasound scans yield a wealth of information, other tests also need to be performed to ensure the health of the baby and mother.
Other tests conducted during pregnancy:
Blood tests – to check for Rubella immunity and look for infections and other health concerns
Amniocentesis – a sample of amniotic fluid is taken to test for chromosomal abnormalities
Chorionic villus sampling – a sample of the placenta is taken to test for chromosomal abnormalities
Rh type blood test – to find out your blood type and Rh type
Gestational diabetes blood test – if you have high blood sugar levels, you’ll be diagnosed with gestational diabetes
Urine tests – to look at sugar, blood, and protein in your urine
Group B streptococcal (GBS) test – a vaginal swab is taken to test for (GBS)
Before getting overwhelmed by the medical aspects of your pregnancy, remember that your doctor and sonographer are there to answer your questions and put you at ease. With their help, you will know what to expect and how best to care for yourself.