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Top Questions About Ultrasounds During Pregnancy

Thursday, Aug 14, 2014

Having an ultrasound while pregnant is important in not only providing the anxious awaiting parents the first picture of their baby, but more importantly to check to see your baby is growing and developing normally.

Ultrasound technology has been around for years and when performed correctly, is safe for both baby and mother. Expectant moms may have some concerns or questions before their first ultrasound. Below we help to try and answer those frequently asked questions.

Are They Safe For My Baby?

When used properly, ultrasounds are not hazardous and have not shown harmful side effects to expectant mothers or their babies. Ultrasounds do not use radiation, which X-rays use, but instead use sound waves to produce images. Still, long-term effects of repeat ultrasound exposure to the fetus is not fully known therefore it is recommended to be used only when medically needed.

What Is The Purpose Of An Ultrasound During Pregnancy?

Based on the stage of pregnancy, there are a number of reasons to receive an ultrasound:

  • Monitor the baby's heart rate
  • Accurately date pregnancy or estimate due date
  • Determine whether pregnancy includes one or multiple babies
  • Check to see if baby is growing and developing normally
  • Check the location of the placenta
  • Assess the amount of amniotic fluid in the uterus
  • Try to determine the baby's sex

When Is An Ultrasound First Performed During Pregnancy?

The first ultrasound typically is performed between 6-8 weeks and helps in estimating the due date. It is a baseline measurement from which your doctor or midwife can monitor the baby’s growth going forward.

How Many Do I Receive?

You will most likely have two standard ultrasounds during your pregnancy. The first ultrasound is performed to determine dating and acts as a baseline; the next ultrasound is performed between 18 and 22 weeks gestation to measure the baby and make sure all body parts are growing correctly. Some women may need to have more ultrasounds during their pregnancy to monitor the baby’s growth or the position of the placenta.

What is a Level II Ultrasound?

A level II ultrasound is similar to a standard ultrasound, but has more detailed information. Because it focuses on specific parts of your baby’s body (such as his or her brain, heart, or other organs), this ultrasound takes more time than the initial ultrasounds. Many measurements are taken and compared to the estimated delivery date to be sure the baby is growing properly.

What is a Sonogram?

A sonogram is the black and white image generated by sound waves that shows your growing baby.

About the VIA Maternity Center

Doylestown Health’s VIA Maternity Center is rated among the best in the region for maternity care with services available for every stage of pregnancy through the birth experience. The VIA Maternity Center features a 32-bed maternity unit that includes 9 labor, delivery & recovery rooms, 22 private post-partum rooms, and a Level II NICU staffed by CHOP neonatologists.

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