Purpose of Getting an Ultrasound

Updated at: May 02, 2013
Purpose of Getting an Ultrasound

The purpose an ultrasound is to check foetal development during pregnancy. Besides, prenatal ultrasound renders several benefits to the expecting mothers.

Himanshu Sharma
MiscellaneousWritten by: Himanshu SharmaPublished at: Jun 21, 2012

Purpose of Getting an UltrasoundPrenatal ultrasound, also known as sonogram, is an imaging test that creates a visual of the unborn baby. The non-invasive treatment uses sound waves to evaluate foetal development, placenta, pelvic organs and uterus. It is usually done to help a health care provider and expectant mother to gather pregnancy information and ascertain the baby's well-being.


Ultrasound Imaging

By way of the imaging test, high-frequency sound waves are passed through the uterus, which bounce off the baby. Reverted sound signals are then converted into a visual that reveals the baby's movements, breathing, shape, heart beat and position. The expectant mother may visit a health care provider between 6 to 10 weeks of the pregnancy term to schedule the pregnancy.

[Read: Effects of Frequent Ultrasound in Pregnancy]

All about Prenatal Ultrasound

  • Prenatal ultrasound visualises the picture of the unborn baby along with its surroundings.
  • Ultrasound scan is done to diagnose and confirm pregnancy. Through an ultrasound, a person can view the yolk sac, gestational sac and embryo of up to 5 weeks. Ultrasound can also detect the site of implantation of the embryo and diagnose ectopic pregnancy.
  • If you go for ultrasound during the mid-pregnancy period (between 16 and 20 weeks), you will be able to figure out the baby’s sex.
  • Another ultrasound is the genetic ultrasound, which includes nuchal translucency test, chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis.
  • Frequent sonograms are recommended for woman with health complications such as diabetes, hypertension or other medical complications.
  • Ultrasound helps find out the cause of vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy by visualising the shape and size of the gestational sac/placenta.
  • The diagnostic technique accurately identifies ectopic and molar pregnancies if there is vaginal bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy.

[Read: Ultrasound Scans during pregnancy]

  • The diagnosis reveals multiple pregnancies by showing growth, retardation, anomaly and the presence of placenta previa.
  • Prenatal ultrasound gives a fair idea of pelvic and uterine abnormalities such as fibromyomata and ovarian cysts during pregnancy.
  • Ultrasound scan also reveals if the placenta is covering the cervix, which causes bleeding later in the pregnancy. If health care providers identify this condition, another follow-up scan will be advised for third trimester.
  • The scan describes baby's basic anatomy and their growth. Prenatal ultrasound puts light on the development of head, neck, chest, heart, bladder, arms, legs, spine, stomach, kidneys and umbilical cord.
  • Health care provider suggests frequent ultrasound scans if he suspects too much or too little amniotic fluid in pregnant woman’s body.


Read more articles on Ultrasound. 


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