Everything You Need to Know About Sonograms

In this article, we'll take a look at everything you need to know about sonograms.
Everything You Need to Know About Sonograms

Last update: 21 November, 2018

Find out everything you need to know about sonograms and why they’re much more than just a picture of your baby.

Pregnancy can seem to take forever while you’re expecting your baby and wondering what he or she will be like. Although there is currently a lot of information that will give you a good idea of the answers to these questions, sonograms are still a special moment.

With sonograms, we can see the baby, hear his or her heartbeat, and see his or her growth. They’re vital to the monitoring of a pregnancy, so try to follow the medical recommendations regarding the prescribed ultrasound schedule.

Keep reading to find out everything you’ll want to know about sonograms.

What are sonograms and what is their purpose?

A sonogram is an image created from sound waves that “bounce” around the uterus, providing a portrait of the baby on a screen. The procedure uses a conductive gel applied to the abdominal area, which helps the transducer send out the waves.

There are also trans-vaginal sonograms, which usually take place during the first trimester. The method is similar to the abdominal approach, but via the vagina. It’s not an invasive procedure, so you don’t have to worry about it harming your baby in any way.

The different sonograms are designed to answer different questions, so each one can tell you something new about your baby.

Woman getting sonogram

What you should know about sonograms: different types

The type of sonogram used for monitoring pregnancies is 2-D (two-dimensional ultrasound). These are more complicated to “decode,” as they don’t offer as clear a picture for non-professionals.

In recent years, 3-D sonograms have come into fashion, designed to offer images that offer better views of the baby. One of the biggest advantages of 3-D sonograms is that they make it easier for professionals to recognize fetal anomalies, and perform other exploratory procedures.

These photographs stand out by giving volume and depth to what you see from within the uterus.

Finally, there are innovative 4-D sonograms, which add movement to the 3-D versions. It’s a video produced by multiple 3-D sonograms. This is the latest technology in terms of ultrasound imaging.

Neither 3-D nor 4-D sonograms are available yet via the public health system, which means you need to pay for them at clinics and private hospitals.

“You’ll see my body become a cradle for the child of your dreams.”

– Laura Victoria

How many sonograms are taken during a pregnancy?

Normally, three sonograms are taken during a pregnancy. Sometimes more, but these three will mark the different points of inflection to ensure that everything is going smoothly.

First sonogram

The first sonogram is taken between six and 12 weeks of gestation, and will confirm the pregnancy. In addition, it marks the first time the future parents will see their child. It’s the first time they’ll hear the child’s heartbeat, which is one of the most emotional moments of a pregnancy.

Pregnant woman with sonogram

This sonogram is also the time when the parents learn of the expected due date, since the sonogram determines the gestation time.

Second sonogram

This occurs between 18 and 20 weeks of gestation. This is when you’ll learn your baby’s sex, as the genitals have already formed.

Additionally, you’ll be able to see and hear his or her heartbeat. The professionals can also measure the baby’s cranial diameter, femur length, and the circumference of his or her abdomen. All these measurements aim to ensure the baby’s proper growth.

Third sonogram

This sonogram occurs between 33 and 34 weeks of gestation. It’s the final sonogram of the pregnancy. From this point on, you’ll follow reviews on monitors up until the time of delivery.

The final sonogram seeks out possible late anomalies, while also checking the baby’s growth and positioning at this particular stage.

The third sonogram offers a picture of the fully-formed baby, which will help give the parents a clearer idea of what their child looks like.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.