An ultrasound pregnancy test is based on high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of the developing baby, as well as the mother’s reproductive organs. This test is also known as a sonogram and can point to potential fetal development problems.
In addition to the standard ultrasound pregnancy test, there are other, more advanced types of ultrasound tests such as 3D ultrasound, 4D ultrasound, and fetal echocardiography which is the type of ultrasound that focuses on the heart of the fetus.
Ultrasound Pregnancy Test During First Trimester
The first trimester ranges from week one to week twelve. During this period, the ultrasound pregnancy test is done in order to:
- confirm the pregnancy
- examine the fetal heartbeat
- estimate the due date
- Check for potential ectopic pregnancy.
- Check out the condition of the cervix, ovaries, uterus, and the placenta.
Those are some of the most common reasons why an ultrasound test is done during the first trimester.
Ultrasound Pregnancy Test During The Second & The Third Trimester of Pregnancy
The second trimester starts at twelve weeks and ends in the 24 weeks, while the third one starts where the second one ends and ranges to the 40 weeks or birth. During each of those trimesters, the ultrasound pregnancy test may be done because of reasons such as:
- Closely monitor the development, growth, and the position of the fetus.
- Find out the baby’s sex
- Check for multiple pregnancies
- Check for potential abnormalities, birth defects, and characteristics of down syndrome.
- Determine the amniotic fluid levels.
Plus, it can serve as a basis for other tests and determine many other potential conditions.
What To Do Before an Ultrasound Test
For best results, you need to have a full bladder. That way the technician can get a perfect image of the fetus, as well as your reproductive organs. Typically, two or three eight-ounce glasses of water, around an hour before the ultrasound test are enough. That’s it, just don’t urinate in meantime and show up on time for your appointment.
Types of Ultrasound
As mentioned earlier, there are several other types of ultrasound tests. Here we will explain each of them.
The purpose of the transvaginal ultrasound is to produce a clearer image. Usually, it is done during the first weeks of the pregnancy, when producing a clear image is much more challenging. For the transvaginal ultrasound, a tiny probe is inserted in the vagina while the images are taken.
Thanks to 3-D ultrasound, the doctor can see the height, the width, and depth of the fetus, along with your organs. A 3-D ultrasound uses a special probe and software to produce the 3D image. Plus, the technician needs to go through special training in order to be able to conduct this test.
This type of ultrasound doesn’t create a single image, but an entire video of the fetus. It catches clearer images of the baby’s face and how it moves. Even though 4D ultrasound is performed the same as other types, it requires highly sophisticated equipment.
This one is done only in cases when your doctor suspects that the baby might have a congenital heart defect of some kind. The test is similar to the other ones, but it usually takes longer. A Fetal echocardiography ultrasound pregnancy test makes an image of the fetus’ heart – the shape, size, and structure of the heart.