An ultrasound scan can be a wonderful thing for a mother and in it it can contain a plethora of information to help aid the mother and practitioner during pregnancy. The following are six pieces of information an ultrasound scan can provide.
1. Check the Heartbeat
The first step a health care technician will have is to check the child’s heartbeat. By measuring the amount of beats per minute, ultrasound scans will be able to determine whether or not it is normal.
2. Measuring the Size of the Child
The next step will be to measure the size of your child. The technician performing the sonogram will begin by measuring the child across their skull, down along the thigh, and then across the abdomen. This measurement will determine whether or not the child is developing properly and if it is the right size for its age. If the child is bigger or smaller than they should be, the practitioner may have the mother adjust the due date by a few weeks, or order more follow-up ultrasounds to keep track of the baby’s progression.
3. Check to See If the Mother Is Carrying Twins, or Multiple Infants
A pregnancy test can tell determine whether or not a woman is pregnant, but it does not provide any of the specifics. Many women are unaware they are carrying twins or higher multiples until they go in for their first ultrasound exam.
4. Find the Location of the Placenta
The technician will then check to see if the placenta is positioned correctly within the uterus. This is an essential process because if the placenta is obstructing or covering the cervix, women may experience bleeding later on into the pregnancy. If cervix obstruction is detected, the practitioner will likely order a few more follow-up scans to be taken sometime in the early stages of the third trimester. If the condition is caught before the 20 weeks mark, it generally will not pose a problem by the time the child is due.
5. Check for any Physical Irregularities or Abnormalities
To be sure the child is free of any physical abnormalities, the practitioner will check the baby’s basic anatomy, including the head, spine, chest, heart, neck, kidneys, stomach, bladder, arms and legs. This will determine whether or not the child is developing correctly. They will also check the umbilical cord, to make sure the child is feeding properly and getting the right nutrients. If there were previous irregularities on prior prenatal tests, such as the multiple-marker blood test, the ultrasound can better conclude the possibility of the child having Down syndrome or other birth defects.
6. Determine the Child’s Sex
At about 16 to 20 weeks, ultrasound scans can also inform future parents of the sex of their child. If parents would rather wait till the birth to know the sex, be sure to inform your practitioner beforehand, or risk getting spoiled before the due date.