Ultrasound is an essential step during pregnancy. This is a medical examination that studies the evolution of the fetus but also makes it possible to detect abnormalities. This imaging technique makes it possible to obtain images of one’s future child thanks to ultrasound emitted by a probe.
It is a completely painless and risk-free examination, which explains its mandatory nature and widespread practice. Here are some reminders about ultrasounds during pregnancy.
Why is an ultrasound essential?
The purpose of an ultrasound is to obtain information essential for the proper management of pregnancy. Ultrasounds aim to accompany parents throughout pregnancy by providing them with all the necessary information about their future child.
They make it possible to know at what precise moment it began, the number of fetuses, and to follow its evolution. Fetal malformations are also detectable by ultrasound. It is a mandatory examination, reimbursed at 70% (with the exception of the last one which is 100%) by Social Security, made on medical prescription.
This is an important step in the context of pregnancy because it reassures parents and offers them first contact with their future baby. Although it is advisable to perform three ultrasounds on specific dates, it is possible to perform one at any time if abnormalities or concerns are suspected.
How does an ultrasound work?
Ultrasound takes place in a radiology office, usually at the gynecologist’s office. The examination is carried out by a midwife or doctor, who begins by applying a gel to the belly.
It will ensure contact between the belly and the probe by ultrasound. Sometimes the healthcare professional offers to perform an endovaginal ultrasound because it improves the visualization of certain parts of the fetus. From the first ultrasound, the doctor can make an account of what he saw. The explanations given by doctors are important because parents need them in order to decipher what they see on the screen.
But beware, ultrasounds are not 100% reliable, it may be that some abnormalities are not detected, or that images are falsely abnormal.
How many ultrasounds should be done?
The first ultrasound should take place between the 10Th and the 12Thweek of pregnancy (12Thand 14Thamenorrhea week). It is used to determine the number of embryos, date pregnancy, and take the heartbeat of the fetus to ensure its vitality. It is possible to detect abnormalities at the first ultrasound, but they are not always visible so early, which is why it is recommended to perform two more examinations.
The second is practiced between the 20th and 22nd week and he analyzes in detail the anatomy of the fetus (diameter and perimeter of the skull, and abdomen). This more in-depth ultrasound makes it possible to detect any abnormalities, but also to discover the sex of the baby. It also specifies the location of the placenta.
Finally, the third and final ultrasound is done between the 30th and 32nd week (32Th and 34Th amenorrhea week). It makes it possible to ensure the proper growth of the fetus and to carry out a very complete morphological examination because some abnormalities are only visible at this time.
Are there any risks in having an ultrasound?
Ultrasound is safe for the fetus. The ultrasound probe moves quickly, limiting the risk of exposure and temperature increases. It is not contraindicated when it has a medical benefit.
The Academy of Medicine recommends doing ultrasounds only for medical reasons, limiting the frequency and duration of examinations to what is necessary for screening and diagnosis. She also warns against non-medical commercial ultrasounds (“souvenir” or “complacency”), which focus more on the fetus and create a risk to the fetus.
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