Ultrasound, as we know, is the form of sound waves outside our hearing range, used during the pregnancy, right from the early stage (eg. 6 weeks) till just before delivery. Just like every pregnant woman needs atleast 4 antenatal visits ,she must not miss the following scans :
Viability scan at 6-10 weeks for diagnosing the pregnancy is inside the womb and deciding the gestational age.
11-13 weeks scan for screening for chromosomal anomalies : The scan should be performed by a competent Fetal medicine expert (eg fetal medicine foundation ,UK) who will scan for the fetal nasal bone, nuchal translucency(fluid behind the neck), ductus venosus (2mm blood vessel shunt in the liver), tricuspid regurgitation (blood flow reflux on right side of heart) and fetal heart rate in background of fetal length(Crown Rump length ).This would be combined with the mother’s age and the results of blood tests (dual marker) to give you the adjusted risks or chances for you having a baby affected with Down syndrome (trisomy 21).But we must not forget that this is a screening test and not a diagnostic test.
At this gestational age ,in expert hands the sonologically detectable structural abnormalities can also be known of.Also we can know the risks/chances for the mother going into premature labour and mother developing pre eclampsia(high blood pressure,protein in urine ,swelling of legs, convulsions in severe cases).So this is indeed a very important scan,don’t you agree with me?
Another important scan is Anomaly or Level 2 scan .It is must for detecting the structural abnormalities in the fetus (all those detectable sonologically at this gestational age).eg.anencephaly, holoprosencephaly, open spina bifida, omphalocele, gastroschisis etc
And finally growth scans or fetal well being scan should be carried out at 28,32 and 36 weeks depending upon the clinical and historical findings.The amniotic fluid is also checked at this time .The fetal Dopplers (blood flow ) is also seen and plotted graphically to see the normalcy.
And of course its a great pleasure seeing the baby dance/move inside the womb for yourself during the scan,especially when 4D adds to the delight !