Updated: Apr 25, 2019
Ultrasound scans use sound waves to build a picture of the baby in the womb. The scans are painless, have no known side effects on mothers or babies, and can be carried out safely at every stages in pregnancy.
An ultrasound scan is an assessment tool commonly used by doctors during your pregnancy. It is a safe and quick way of obtaining images of your baby and knowing his/her health.
You can know baby's gender with a scan as early as 3-4 months.
Baby's organs are formed by 5 months and can be assessed by scan.
Your baby can also make motor, swallowing and breathing movements by 6 months.
#1 What do I expect at ultrasound scan?
You will be asked to lie on a couch. The lights will be dimmed so that it is easier for the doctor to see the images of your baby. An ultrasound scan is done with placing the scan probe on your tummy. Some gel will be applied on your tummy. In the early weeks of pregnancy, a vaginal probe may be used to see your baby clearer.
#2 When is safe for my first ultrasound scan?
It is important to know your gestation period and expected due date. However, scanning too early may not get any information, as the developing baby is not seen on scan until at least 6 weeks of pregnancy (from the first day of your last menses). Measurements of the baby is best done after 8 weeks. The most ideal time or dating scan is between 8 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. So be patient and do not rush for a scan once pregnancy test is positive!
#3. Is an ultrasound scan perfectly safe for my baby?
While the safety of ultrasound scans in pregnancy is endorsed by professional experts and is a common tool in pregnancy assessment, it is still important to exercise prudency. You should understand the purpose and reason for each ultrasound scan. Also, doctors would ensure that each ultrasound examination is done carefully within a reasonable time.
#4. What is a 3D scan and do I need one?
A 3D ultrasound can furnish us with a three-dimensional image of the baby. The transducer takes a series of images and the computer processes into three-dimensional images. These costly scans are regarded as "social scans" and generally do not additional medical value compared to the conventional 2D scans. Occasionally, it can help to delineate small structural problems such as abnormality in the fingers or toes and minor skin defects. Most hospitals do not offer 3D scans as a routine scan.Some parents claim that 3D scan increases bonding of baby with them.
#5. What is the chance of baby having a development problem?
The risk in the general population that baby has a major structural birth problem is 3%. While not all abnormalities can be identified by ultrasound scans, many can be detected.