Before asking how many ultrasounds during pregnancy, it is very important if you were to get the general knowledge concerning the ultrasound itself. An ultrasound is a process where high frequency sound waves are sent to the uterus. The sounds make the baby to bounce and as this happens, returning echoes are resend to the computer to be translated by a computer. The translation is in form of an image on the screen revealing in which position the baby is and movements they are making.
The baby`s hard tissues like the bones are the ones that rebound more echoes and in an ultrasound image they are white, while the softer tissues appear grey and spotted. The amniotic fluid and other fluids around the baby do not reflect any sound so they appear black. The shades that are produced during an ultrasound are what the sonographer uses to capture the images clearly.
The specialist who is trained to carry out ultrasounds is referred to as a sonographer. At times, a doctor will request special ultrasounds and in this case, a doctor who has the right training in this field will perform this. A doctor trained in ultrasound is known as the fetal medicine specialist. Sonographers will not likely interpret the ultrasound results unless they have extra knowledge in reading ultrasounds. A radiologist is the one who will read and interpret the ultrasound results.
When is the right time for an ultrasound?
In most scenarios, an ultrasound is offered late in the pregnancy. This is in the second trimester week 18 or 20 and the main aim is to confirm that your baby is growing normally without any problem. In some special circumstances a dating ultrasound maybe requested in the first trimester of the pregnancy. This is ideally done in the 10th or the 13th week of the pregnancy. This one confirms the dates. If at any time you will be tested for the Down syndrome, this will be very important, knowing the actual date makes the results more accurate.
There are some times, which the ultrasound will be requested earlier in order to check the viability of your pregnancy. This is usually done if you are experiencing pain or bleeding. An ultrasound in this case may be done about six weeks earlier.
In the third trimester growth ultrasound done in between 28th to 40th week is recommendable. This is important if in the previous ultrasounds, the baby was small, you are expecting twins or your pregnancy has some complications, for example if you suffer from diabetes an ultrasound is recommendable for you. Your doctor or midwife may request for a growth ultrasound if your baby feels abnormal like the baby measures too small or large than the expectation.
Ultrasounds have been in use for the last three decades and the carried out medical research has found no side effect with it. There is no proof that an ultrasound affects the babys weight in any way. It does not cause childhood leukemia or any form of cancer, does not affect eyesight, hearing or dyslexia in babies. However, even if it has no effect it is advisable to undertake it under medical reasons. It should be justified and limited for its actual purpose.