Ultrasound is a scanning technique that uses sound waves to create an image of your internal structures. Unlike X-rays, which use radiation that’s not safe for pregnancy, ultrasound is considered low-risk during pregnancy.

Studies looking into the effects of ultrasound on pregnancy have found no links between ultrasound use during pregnancy and physical complications in the baby after birth.

However, the main risk associated with ultrasound is the misdiagnosis of fetal conditions—this means that, rarely, a doctor might see something worrisome in the ultrasound that turns out to be benign later on.

Despite the low risk of misdiagnosis, ultrasound remains an important tool during pregnancy because it enables the doctor to observe key pregnancy details.

This article will highlight the essentials you need to know about ultrasound during pregnancy. But if you’re looking for a free pregnancy ultrasound or a space to talk about your pregnancy options, contact Turlock Pregnancy and Health Center today to schedule a free, confidential appointment.

What Can an Ultrasound Tell Me During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, ultrasound is used early on to help determine the following essential information about your pregnancy:

  • Gestational age: Even if you use a period tracker app or have regular periods, it can be impossible to know your pregnancy’s gestational age without an ultrasound. During an ultrasound, measurements will be taken that, along with other information, will help determine how far along your pregnancy has progressed.

  • This is essential in understanding what next steps are available (for example, medication abortion is only FDA-approved if your pregnancy is under 10 weeks gestation).

  • Location: Most pregnancies attach and develop inside the uterus. But rarely, a pregnancy will grow outside the uterus.

  • This is called an ectopic pregnancy, and it’s a life-threatening situation because this development can cause a fallopian tube to rupture. Ultrasound can help confirm an ectopic pregnancy, which needs immediate medical intervention.

  • Viability: Did you know that it’s possible to receive a positive pregnancy test result even after miscarrying?

  • Ultrasound will look for signs of life, like a heartbeat, to determine if you are still actively pregnant. If not, you will need medical follow-up to see if any treatment is necessary.

How Many Ultrasound Scans Will I Need During Pregnancy?

Although ultrasounds are vital diagnostic tools during pregnancy, the goal is to perform the fewest scans possible.

Typically, the first ultrasound occurs early in pregnancy to establish the pregnancy’s gestational age, location, and viability, and then later scans are performed to track the pregnancy’s development.

However, your doctor will determine the exact number of scans that will be recommended during your pregnancy based on your unique circumstances. (For example, high-risk pregnancies usually need more scans.)

Next Steps

You’re not alone as you navigate your pregnancy. At Turlock Pregnancy and Health Center, we’re here for you.

Whether you’re looking for more information about your pregnancy options, support services, or free ultrasounds, we’ve got you covered.

Contact us today to schedule your free, confidential appointment.

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