1st Trimester Ultrasound (6-12 weeks)

1st-trimester-ultrasoundUltrasounds at this stage helps determine a lot of information about your pregnancy.  First, we make sure your pregnancy is in the uterus and not ectopic or in the fallopian tubes.  We can also determine how many babies you have.  Additionally, we check the size of your baby to make sure its growth correlates to your due which ensures an accurate final due date.  Finally, we want to check the viability of your pregnancy.  In other words, we want to make sure the baby has a normal heart rate and rhythm.

Nuchal Translucency (12 to 14 weeks GA)

2nd-trimester-ultrasoundA nuchal translucency ultrasound examination involves measuring the amount of fluid accumulated under the skin at the back of the baby’s neck. This normal accumulation of fluid is known as the nuchal translucency (or NT) measurement and it is often increased when a developing baby has Down syndrome.  The fetal nasal bone is also examined.  Baby’s that have an abnormally small nasal bone or absent nasal bone also have an increased risk for Down syndrome.

Anatomy Ultrasound (18 to 20 weeks GA)

3rd-trimester-ultrasoundAn ultrasound performed at 18-20 weeks is the most extensive ultrasound done.  This ultrasound is used to determine the babies size, weight and to measure growth ensuring the fetus is developing according to plan.  We look at your baby from head to its toe.  This means we check the baby’s head, face, heart, thorax, abdomen, spine, arms, legs, fingers and toes.  Additionally, we check the placenta and maternal cervix.  Depending on the baby’s position we can also determine the sex of the baby.  While an ultrasound will detect many abnormalities, it is not a definitive means for finding fetal malformations or abnormalities.  Normal results can never guarantee the birth of a normal baby.  In fact, two to three percent of newborns have some type of physical or mental defect, many of which are undetectable through any know prenatal testing.  You should realize even with a complete ultrasound, certain fetal abnormalities may be discovered either later in the pregnancy or even after birth.  Thus, although ultrasounds are a very helpful diagnostic tool, it should not be considered as an absolute proof of the absence of fetal defects.

Third Trimester Ultrasound

3rd-trimester-ultrasound-2During the third trimester women will have an ultrasound to check the health of their baby or their baby’s readiness for birth. It is also a good time to look for the position of the baby, the estimated weight of the baby, the placental location and age, the amount of amniotic fluid left around the baby, and the maternal cervix.

Other test performed during pregnancy