Questions you should ask when you have a pregnancy ultrasound
Ultrasounds can be such an exciting part of pregnancy! It’s your first glimpse of the precious new life growing inside you, and can quite an emotional time for mummies-to-be.
Of course, ultrasounds aren’t just about taking a happy snap of your baby to hang on the fridge until he or she arrives; they serve a very important medical purpose.
Here are a few things you should make sure you are finding out about at each ultrasound appointment you attend during your pregnancy. You should also find you won’t need to ask a good technician these questions, they’ll simply talk you though them as they go; but keep them in mind.
A really important part of obstetric ultrasounds is to check in on the growth of the baby and ensure they are on track for your gestational stage. If your baby is smaller than they should be for your gestational stage, it can be an indicator of a few different conditions which your obstetrician would then need to check for. Your ultrasound technician should be measuring baby’s whole body, including their limbs, head circumference, and so on.
Baby’s limbs, including fingers and toes
While this might be tricky at early ultrasounds due to baby looking a bit like a jellybean, once you get to about the 20 week mark, your technician should be checking your baby’s arms and legs, and trying to count their fingers and toes. If they aren’t all present, it could indicate a birth anomaly, but could also simply mean that bub was in an awkward position, so try to not read too much into things. If there is real cause for concern, your obstetrician will pick up on this and walk you through it.
Baby’s internal organs
It’s amazing the things we can see in ultrasounds! Your technician should also be checking on all your baby’s internal workings, including their brain, kidneys, heart, lungs and stomach. Abnormalities in the formation of your baby’s vital organs can also be indicators for different birth abnormalities, so it’s important these are monitored.
Your technician should also be checking on the formation of your baby’s spine during your ultrasound appointments. Anomalies with the spine can be an indicator of spina bifida.
Your placenta and cervix
It’s not just your baby getting a check-over at your ultrasound appointments; your technician will likely also check on the health of your placenta, as well as your cervix. Both these provide important insight for your obstetrician into the progression of your pregnancy, and issues can point to certain anomalies.
While we’ve mentioned the word ‘anomalies’ in this article quite a few times, it’s important to remember that less than 2% of babies are born with anomalies in Australia, so the likelihood is that you’ll have absolutely nothing to worry about.
That said, in the case there was something picked up during a scan, you want to know that you’re in good hands. We strongly recommend ensuring you visit a reputable clinic with the knowledge and expertise to fully understand the implications of any of these things so you’re not getting worried unnecessarily, or, if there is cause for concern, you’re put on the right path as quickly as possible.
The Centre For Women’s Ultrasound
At the Centre For Women’s Ultrasound, we don’t just do happy snaps; we provide premium care, unparalleled expertise, and advanced imaging technology to ensure you’re getting the most accurate information during your obstetric scans and tests. Our team ultrasonographers is led by Dr Indika Alahakoon, an experienced obstetrician and gynaecologist who is also the head of fetal maternal medicine at The Westmead Hospital, and has completed specialised ultrasound diagnostic training. Should any abnormalities be detected during your scan, Dr Alahakoon is available to provide specialised interpretations of the results if it is required.