Ultrasound or ultrasonography or scan in the local language is a great investigation in the recent times which is helping both the patients and the doctors in identifying the condition of the uterus, baby's development and early and late changes occurring in the pregnant uterus, the amniotic fluid volume and many more:

This article aims at concentrating on key points like: 

  • The importance of ultrasound in pregnancy
  • Types of ultrasound
  • The number of ultrasonography to be taken during the course of pregnancy
  • The ideal time for each ultrasonograph
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Importance of ultrasound in pregnancy:
  • Ultrasound is basically used as a diagnostic tool in confirming various aspects like discussed above.
  • Example: Position of uterus, condition of the uterus, if the pregnancy is intra-uterine (within the uterus) or tubal (within the fallopian tube), number of fetuses within the uterus (single or multiple), if twins are identified then the type of twins (like identical and non identical), the organ development within the fetus, and finally estimated date of delivery.

Types of USG in pregnancy: 

There are two types of USG available:

  • Trans-abdominal: Wherein the transducer is placed on the mother's abdomen and a graph is obtained (this is most commonly practised and is most convenient for the patient).

  • Trans-vaginal: Wherein the transducer is passed per vaginally and a graph is obtained (this is the most accurate and is slightly inconvenient for the patient).

The number of ultrasonography to be taken during pregnancy:

Ideally, four ultrasonographs are recommended during pregnancy. 

 The ideal time for each ultrasonograph:

  • Dating scan: It is also known as pregnancy confirmation scan. It is recommended by doctors to confirm the pregnancy (as it is a 100% confirmation of pregnancy) after identifying a "positive urine pregnancy test". It is advised between 7-9 weeks of pregnancy.

Dating scan
  • NT scan: Also known as "Nuchal Translucency" Scan. It is done to rule out anomalies of the brain and spinal cord like anencephaly, meningomyelocele, Down's syndrome. It is usually advised between 9-11 weeks of pregnancy. (By the end of the 3rd month)

  • NT Scan
  • Anomaly scan: It is the most important scan recommended during pregnancy. It is done to detect the organogenesis (organ development) in the developing fetus. This is advised between 18-20 weeks of pregnancy. (By the end of the 5th month). Any abnormality detected during this stage termination of pregnancy is possible. 
  • Anomaly Scan
    • Term Scan: It is done to know the position and the presentation of the baby in relation to the mother's uterus (which helps the doctor in deciding either to perform a normal delivery or a cesarean section, also helps in identifying the position of the placenta). It is recommended between 33-36 weeks of pregnancy. (Around 8.5-9 months)

    This is the importance of ultrasonography in pregnancy alone. Apart from these, there are many other uses of ultrasonography in the routine life. So as advised by the doctor get the USG done and track your baby's growth.

    Note: Any questions, corrections and suggestions are welcome.