Pregnancy: Types of Ultrasound To Know About

As soon as you enter pregnancy, a trail of pregnancy ultrasound tests begins with it. From a home pregnancy test to 36-week test for group B strep, there are a few types of ultrasounds that help make your pregnancy easy. Not only they provide you with the images of the fetus but also help detect various anomalies in pregnant women.

A sonogram is one type of ultrasound test that you'll need to undergo during pregnancy. It's an ultrasound exam that involves the use of high-frequency sound waves to scan a woman's pelvis and abdomen cavity. The process produces a picture (sonogram) of the placenta and baby. It’s delighting as it gives parents the chance to see the unborn in all his/her glory.

However, there are different types of ultrasounds performed throughout pregnancy, that's why we'll be discussing the types of ultrasounds in this article today.

First Trimester/Dating Scans:

The very first pregnancy ultrasound test happens around 8-12 weeks of pregnancy and is called a dating scan. The dating scan uses the transvaginal technique of ultrasound. It means that a probe lies in the vagina to get a clear image of the female pelvic organs such as the uterus, cervix, vagina, ovaries, as well as the developing pregnancy.

It gets quite problematic to perform a sonogram using the transabdominal technique. It' because transvaginal ultrasound provides a better and clear image of the uterus during early pregnancy. On the other, the transabdominal study needs a full bladder for optimum visualization of pelvic structures. Thus, for all purposes and intents during the early stage of pregnancy, a transvaginal test is one of the most valuable tools.

With the help of this type of scan, a doctor can give you an accurate estimate of the age and due date of the baby.

Nuchal Fold Sonogram:

The second test is Nuchal Fold Sonogram and takes place around 12-14 weeks of pregnancy. This type of ultrasound scan can detect down syndrome and other genetic disorders. This time the scan will be done abdominally. Also, they will assess the growth, brain formation, and heartbeat of the baby. Though, it's an ultrasound that needs to be done abdominally, so your bladder must be full at the time of the scan.

Consequently, the doctor will ask you drink several glasses of water and not to empty it until the test is over. Drinking a few glasses of water even when you don't want can get a little uncomfortable as pregnant women tend to feel a frequent urge to pee. When your bladder is full, the ultrasound waves reflect apparently within this water-filled window which rests over the uterus and the small baby, allowing to produce better images.

Anatomy scan:

The next scan is anatomy scan or Level 2 ultrasound. It usually does not come up until on or about 21 weeks or halfway of pregnancy. It's used to examine a baby's developing organs and measure the growth of the baby. The level 2 scan is an exciting experience for parents-to-be.

In this scan, they will measure your baby from crown to rump, her head, and the belly. In the scan, the four chambers of the heart will be visible, as well as bladder, kidney, stomach, spine, brain, and sex organs. Also, the anatomy scan can determine the gender of your baby. Though, you need to mention it that you want to know the sex of your baby or not. Moms who do not wish to know and want to be surprised calls this staying Team neutral or Green as team blue is for boys and team pink is for girls.

The sonographer will also be checking the levels of your amniotic fluid, the umbilical cord, the fetal heart rate, and the location of the placenta.

This little show put on by your baby will usually end within 30-40 minutes, although it depends on the cooperation of the baby as well.

Doppler Blood Flow, Growth Scans and more:

If everything falls into place and you're not on a high-risk pregnancy, you won't be asked to undergo another ultrasound scan until your third trimester.

For instance, after 20 weeks, if your pregnancy goes accordingly until 34 weeks, you can ask for a growth scan which can show whether your baby is growing on target, and give an accurate estimation of the age and weight of the baby.

Also, if there are chances of any complication in the third trimester of your pregnancy, a sonogram will be used for placental complications and a Doppler Blood Flow to detect cord compression.

4D ultrasounds:

After the conventional 2D ultrasound technique, 3D ultrasounds attracted more people as it can provide a three-dimensional picture of a baby's scan. But, what if we could take a picture of the fetus that is multi-dimensional? We are talking about 4D ultrasounds.

From a yawn to a stretch, and to the heartbeats of your baby, now parent-to-be can watch and bond with their unborn baby by choosing to go for a 4D ultrasound.

It is a boon to see the face of your baby even though he/she hasn't arrived yet. Apart from this, parents-to-be can also share their ultrasound images with their family and friends by using innovative services of BabyFlix, such as DVD connect, BabyFlix Studio, Ultrasound Live Stream, etc.   


These types of ultrasound prove to be very helpful in finding potential risks that may arise during pregnancy. They can play a role of lifesavers for your baby.

As an expectant parent, acknowledge that these tests are for sound medical reasons, and try to enjoy those moments as much as you can.