The Importance of Scans Before the Second Trimester

The Importance of Scans Before the Second TrimesterFor most pregnant women, their doctor will typically order an ultrasound scan around the 18-20 week mark. This is well into the second trimester. At that point, the doctor or technician can observe the position of the fetus, its sex, and overall health. However, some pregnancies may require additional scans prior to the beginning of the second trimester. Here are a few reasons why a first trimester ultrasound scan would be important.

To verify pregnancy and meet your baby for the first time. Let’s face it: Meeting your future child can be thrilling and very emotional. Many mothers want an ultrasound as soon as possible to see their child growing inside. The scan can provide keepsake photos and videos to start building family memories with. However, it is still a medical procedure, so make sure you check with you doctor to see if he or she recommends a first trimester ultrasound.

The pregnancy is higher-risk. There are several reasons that your pregnancy could be considered higher risk. Risk factors include if you are over 35 and have never conceived before, if you have a family history of pregnancy risk factors, or if you have a medical condition that could lead to problems later on (like appendicitis, fibroids in the uterus, or an ovarian cyst). If your doctor feels the pregnancy is higher, he or she will order an early ultrasound to check the position and viability of the embryo. It is important to watch higher-risk pregnancies more carefully in order to identify and address potential issues more quickly.

To obtain an accurate due date. Your doctor may order an earlier ultrasound if you have a history of irregular periods or are not sure of the date of your last period. An early ultrasound can date the pregnancy, usually to within a few days’ accuracy. This can be tremendously helpful with planning. Obtaining the gestational age (time since conception) is one of the most common reasons for having an ultrasound scan before the second trimester.

To check the results of an inconclusive test or abnormality. Pregnant women are subject to numerous pokes and prods during their doctor visits. Usually, these tests are quick and accurate. However, there will occasionally be an inconclusive result or an issue that needs further investigation. In these cases, your doctor may have you come for a follow-up ultrasound exam during your first trimester. Additionally, if you have any abnormal feelings, bleeding, or spotting, and ultrasound can be used to determine if everything is still progressing normally with your pregnancy.

To check for multiples. If you have a family history of multiple pregnancy, or if you have been undergoing fertility treatments, your doctor may schedule a first trimester ultrasound to see if you are carrying multiples (twins, triplets, etc.). Multiple pregnancy carries its own risk factors, so this is good information to have sooner than later. Your doctor will be able to identify distinct heartbeats as soon as six or seven weeks after conception.

This post was written for Momma of Mojo by Glenn Josephik. Glenn is an account representative and the marketing coordinator at MedCorp LLC, the industry leader and premier business source for used ultrasound systems. You can follow Glenn Josephik on Google+.


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