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Antenatal Ultrasound

During your pregnancy you will have a number of routine ultrasound scans to look at the growth and development of your baby. If you have a multiple or high risk pregnancy, an ultrasound may need to be performed on a regular basis. Your Alana Obstetrician will outline what is required for you throughout your antenatal care.

First trimester ultrasound (dating scan)

The First Trimester Ultrasound or “dating scan” scan helps to provide accurate dating of the pregnancy and confirm that the fetus is developing normally with a heartbeat.  If you have not had a scan performed prior to your first visit at Alana Obstetrics, we will perform this for you.

Nuchal Translucency ultrasound (NT scan)

This ultrasound scan is performed at 12-14 weeks of the pregnancy and assesses your risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome.  In addition to the ultrasound a blood test will be performed, the results of which are added to the calculation.  The result that will be discussed with you is a risk of abnormality, and will be expressed as a number eg 1:10, 1:200, 1:10000. Based on your risk further testing can be performed if necessary. As this is a specialised ultrasound we recommend that you attend a specialised Obstetric and Gynaecology Ultrasound practice.

Morphology scan (19-20 weeks)

The morphology ultrasound looks at your baby’s anatomy from head to toe.  It is a detailed scan that can take a while depending on how co-operative your baby is being on the day! The placental location will also be assessed in this scan. If you wish to find out the sex of your baby, this is the earliest scan that can tell reliably whether you are having a boy or a girl.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need to have an ultrasound during my pregnancy?

Ultrasound can take high quality images of many parts of your body, which makes it an excellent diagnostic tool. During pregnancy, an ultrasound is recommended for a number of reasons:

  • For confirming the age of the baby and to predict the due date;
  • To look at the baby as it develops throughout the various stages of pregnancy;
  • To screen for chromosomal and other abnormalities (such as Down syndrome).
Ultrasound during pregnancy is safe and does not harm you or your baby.  You can read our blog on this topic here.
Is having an ultrasound safe for my baby?
Ultrasound has been used in obstetrics for over 50 years. Ultrasound services provided to you in the context of your pregnancy care follow the ALARA (as low as reasonably possible) principle and the recommendations of The Australian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine. This means that we will only perform an ultrasound when indicated, and minimise the exposure time and intensity. We have written more about the use of ultrasound in pregnancy in our blog .
Will I be exposed to ionising radiation during my ultrasound?
No. Ionising radiation is radiation containing enough energy to cause damage at a cellular level in the human body. We are all exposed to ionising radiation from our environment in our daily lives (from the sun, rocks, plants, building materials, etc). This is known as “background radiation”. While ionising radiation is used during some diagnostic imaging examinations, ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to obtain an image of inside your body. Ionising radiation is not used to perform an ultrasound.
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