When Do You Have Ultrasound Scans During Pregnancy?

Ultrasound technology has allowed women and doctors to gain insight into the development of a fetus since as far back as the late 50s. These days the technology has evolved immensely, and doctors are able to glean more accurate information than ever before.

Using high frequency sound waves the sonograph forms an image of the fetus, from which doctors can monitor its development. Throughout their pregnancies, women will attend regular ultrasound scans to oversee the growth of their babies. While we know that women go for regular ultrasound scans, when do we have ultrasound scans during pregnancy?

When Do You Go for Ultrasound Scans?

Because each woman is an individual, not every woman will have the same number of scans. How many scans you go for are determined by whether you have given birth before and what your risk levels are. Women with underlying health conditions and women in their first pregnancy will typically require more ultrasound scans.

When ultrasound scans are conducted:

  • From 6 weeks to 28 weeks – every four-to-six-weeks
  • From 28 weeks to 36 weeks – every two to three weeks
  • From 36 weeks onward – every week or two

What Ultrasound Scans Determine

While you are pregnant, your doctor will regularly perform ultrasound scans to monitor various aspects of your fetus’s development. The results of an ultrasound go far beyond the photograph you go home with.

What ultrasound scans tell us at each stage of a baby’s development:

First trimester

  • Confirm pregnancy
  • Confirm an estimated due date
  • Determine whether the fetus is developing inside or outside the womb to rule out an ectopic pregnancy
  • Rule out a miscarriage
  • Screen for chromosomal abnormalities such Down’s syndrome

Second trimester

  • Check whether there are any structural abnormalities in the fetus
  • Ensure the placenta is functioning normally
  • Assess the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus
  • Determine the gender of the fetus

Third trimester

  • Ensure the placenta is functioning well
  • Check the size and weight of the baby

How Safe Is an Ultrasound Scan During Pregnancy?

While doctors won’t recommend more ultrasound scans than are necessary, to date there is no evidence that ultrasound scans are harmful to the mother or the baby. In fact, ultrasound scans are considered to be extremely safe and as a result, they are the ideal imaging method for pregnant women. Ultrasound scans do not expose the fetus or the mother to ionising radiation unlike x-rays and CT scans. Instead of radiation, ultrasound scans employ high-frequency sound waves. These sound waves bounce off the bones and tissue of the fetus to produce an image of the fetus for the doctor and the mother to observe. Because ultrasound scans are so safe, they can be conducted regularly, throughout your pregnancy.

There is so much value in ultrasound technology that gynaecologists and obstetricians would have a hard time finding another way to monitor fetal development. When you have an ultrasound scan during a pregnancy, you know that the doctor has a window into your baby’s world and that you know the progression of your baby’s growth at every stage of your pregnancy.

OMNI Ultrasound & Gynaecological Care

Condous performs Advanced Endosurgery procedures for women needing intervention for pelvic masses, adnexal pathology, severe endometriosis or hysterectomy. He also runs ‘Hands on’ Live Sheep Laparoscopic Workshops for gynaecologists at Camden Veterinarian School.
Having completed an undergraduate degree with the University of Adelaide, he left Australia in 1993 and moved to London where he completed his training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. From 2001 to 2003 Condous worked as a Senior Research Fellow at St George’s Hospital, London. At St George’s he set up the Acute Gynaecology Unit, the first in the United Kingdom. It was also during this time that he developed an interest in Early Pregnancy and especially the management of pregnancies of unknown location (PULs). Condous has developed many mathematical models for the prediction of outcome of PULs which have been featured in numerous peer review journals. In 2005, he returned to Australia where he completed his Laparoscopic Fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Reproductive Endosurgery, Royal North Shore, Sydney.

Condous was appointed as a Consultant Gynaecologist and Senior Lecturer at Nepean Hospital in 2006 and soon was made Associate Professor. In 2010, he was made Departmental Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Nepean Hospital. He obtained the MRCOG in 1999 and was made FRANZCOG in 2005. In 2009, he was awarded his Doctorate in Medicine (MD), University of London, for his thesis entitled: “The management of pregnancies of unknown location and the development of new mathematical models to predict outcome”.

Condous has edited three books including the “Handbook of Early Pregnancy Care”, published over 100 papers in international journals and is internationally renowned for his work in Early Pregnancy. He is the Associate Editor for Gynaecologic Obstetric Investigation, which is a European based journal, as well as the Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine (AJUM). He is on the organising committee and is an invited speaker at the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG) Scientific meeting in Sydney 2013. His current research interests relate to the management of ectopic pregnancy, 1st trimester growth, PULs and miscarriage and the use of transvaginal ultrasound (in particular sonovaginography, to predict posterior compartment deep infiltrating rectovaginal endometriosis).Condous is also actively involved with post-graduate education including the annual running of the Early Pregnancy and Gynaecological Ultrasound Interactive Courses for Sonologists, Radiologists, Sonographers and Gynaecologists in Australia.