Ultrasounds are a standard part of prenatal care that give you insight on your developing baby. You might even be wondering, “How many ultrasounds do I need to confirm a healthy pregnancy?” Here’s what experts want you to know!
What Is an Ultrasound, and How Does It Work?
A prenatal ultrasound is a medical imaging technique that uses sound waves to create visual images of your uterus in order to monitor the health and development of a fetus during pregnancy.
During an ultrasound, a handheld device called a transducer emits high-frequency sound waves that bounce off internal structures, creating echoes. These echoes are then converted into real-time images on a screen, allowing healthcare professionals to observe the organs, tissues, and your baby.
What Does an Ultrasound Check for During My Pregnancy?
Ultrasounds play a crucial role in monitoring the progress of a pregnancy and ensuring the well-being of both the mother and the baby. During pregnancy, ultrasounds can:
- Assess placental health. They can evaluate the health and position of the placenta, which plays a critical role in supporting your baby’s growth and development.
- Check for birth defects. Detailed ultrasounds, such as the anatomy scan, can identify structural abnormalities in the fetus, helping parents and healthcare providers prepare for potential challenges.
- Confirm pregnancy. An early ultrasound can confirm the presence of a viable pregnancy by visualizing the gestational sac and later the embryo.
- Determine gestational age. They can accurately estimate the age of the fetus, which helps in establishing a due date and tracking fetal development – an exciting part of pregnancy.
- Evaluate amniotic fluid levels. Imaging can measure the volume of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby, ensuring it is at a healthy level.
- Monitor fetal growth. Serial ultrasounds track the baby’s growth and ensure that it is developing at a healthy rate.
So, How Many Ultrasounds Do I Need to Confirm Healthy Pregnancy?
The number of ultrasounds you’ll receive during your pregnancy varies based on many different factors. Most healthy women receive two or three scans, including the following:
- Early pregnancy ultrasound: This imaging appointment is usually performed between weeks six and nine. It is designed to confirm the pregnancy, estimate gestational age, and check for the baby’s heartbeat.
- Anatomy scan: Around 18 to 20 weeks, an in-depth ultrasound (anatomy scan) is performed. This is done to assess your baby’s growth, check for abnormalities, and evaluate the placenta and amniotic fluid.
- Third-trimester ultrasound: Additional imaging may be recommended if there are specific concerns. For example, tracking fetal growth, assessing fluid levels, or monitoring the position of your baby.
What Affects the Number of Ultrasounds I’ll Receive Throughout My Pregnancy?
If any complications arise during your pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or suspected fetal growth restrictions, your healthcare provider may schedule additional ultrasounds to closely monitor the situation.
If your pregnancy is considered low-risk, you will have fewer ultrasounds. High-risk pregnancies, however, may require more frequent appointments for monitoring.
Your medical history, including previous complications or health conditions, can impact the recommended number of visits.
If you’re expecting twins, triplets, or more, you’ll likely have more ultrasounds to monitor the development of each fetus.
Expectant parents may request further imaging for reassurance or personal reasons. However, you should be prepared to pay out of pocket for any testing that isn’t considered medically necessary by your insurance company..
Visit Annandale Ob-Gyn for All of Your Prenatal Care Needs, From Ultrasounds to Postpartum Care!
Now that you have an answer to your question, “How many ultrasounds do I need to confirm a healthy pregnancy,” we’re happy to provide even more information. Our team at Annandale Ob-Gyn has answers for you, made even easier with our patient education and forms! Call us at 703-642-7522 to schedule an appointment and receive care customized to you!