How Many Ultrasounds are Safe During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy scans

You are going to have a baby. You cannot keep calm. You are anxious. We totally understand. But is it really necessary to keep a watch on your baby’s doing inside your womb with multiple ultrasound scans? NO. These days it has been observed that more and more pregnant women are paying money to get extra private scans done to keep the photos as souvenirs or for reassurance. Have you ever thought if it is posing a risk to your fetus’ health? Your doctor is well-read and certified enough to recommend you how many scans you exactly need to keep a check on the growth and development of the fetus.

There have been reasons cited by the anxious mothers for their frequency of scans. If a certain mother has suffered from a couple of miscarriages in the past, she gets very impatient to wait until 12 weeks to get a scan done. She opts for a scan to reassure that her baby ‘inside’ is doing just well and fine. But they often seem to forget that getting scanned at such an early stage may pose risks to the fetus too.

Let’s see how many scans are recommended as per medical standards and why we should stick to them 

First Trimester 

  • In the first 6-9 weeks of pregnancy, a transvaginal (TVS) scan and a dating scan is done to estimate the due birth date. It also checks the fetus’ heartbeat, number of babies you are pregnant with; check the uterus, embryo sac and the other surrounding organs.
  • This is followed by an NT (nuchal translucency) scan done between 11-13 weeks of pregnancy.

Second Trimester 

During the second trimester, an anomaly scan is done to

  • locate the baby’s position in the womb,
  • detect any birth defects, congenital and chromosomal abnormalities.

A scan at this stage will be able to determine if your baby has Down Syndrome.

The gender is also identified at this stage although it is not revealed in India. 

Third Trimester 

The scan at the third trimester is usually a transabdominal scan or a transvaginal scan. It is also called a growth scan that will

  • review for any abnormalities in the anatomy of the baby
  • check the exact position of the baby
  • see if the growth and development of the baby are fine as per the medical diagnostic reports like the circumference of the baby’s head, the circumference of the tummy, length of the thigh bone and depth of the amniotic fluid around the baby.

What are the other types of scan?

Other than these regular scans which are set as per medical standards of pregnancy scans, doctors might recommend going for some extra ultrasound scans for mothers who have had previous histories of miscarriages.

There is also a Doppler ultrasound that is carried out to check the baby’s blood flow to the heart.

Besides these scans that are done under a gynecologist’s supervision and recommendations, these days parents also go for 3D and 4D ultrasounds that capture a clearer picture of the baby in the form of colored images and videos. But doctors strongly advise against them.

Are ultrasound scans safe?

Ultrasound scans are used for many decades now and there haven’t been any records or reports of it causing any harm to the growing baby in terms of their organ and sensory development or other congenital health issues.

In an ultrasound scan, sound waves are sent to the uterus that bounces off the baby’s body in the form of echoes that turn into images on the screen.

Though ultrasound scans are completely harmless, off late doctors have been complaining that parents are exposing their unborn babies to a lot of scans for DVD movies and 3D pictures that parents wish to keep as souvenirs. Medical professionals say that these high-frequency scans might carry unknown risks to the unborn. They also strongly advise parents to stick to the limited number of scans listed under medical procedures rather than going for private scans.

Be responsible for your baby’s health. Even if your doctor advises for some extra scans, ask your doctor ‘why’. You have a right to know every treatment and tests administered to you. 

Also, Read:

Why Is A Double Marker Test Done In Pregnancy?

How to Manage Pregnancy Incontinence or OAB During Pregnancy


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