Obstetric Ultrasound

A pregnancy ultrasound scan is a key part of prenatal care and is used to assess fetal development and health.

There are different types of ultrasound scan to be done throughout your pregnancy journey, and they will provide you with the insights you and your fetus need.

Why is an ultrasound scan for pregnancy important?

Here are some key reasons why ultrasound scans are essential in pregnancy:

1

Monitoring fetal development

Ultrasound scans allow doctors to monitor the fetus’s growth, ensuring it is developing as expected.

2

Detecting potential complications

Scans can help detect any possible complications such as ectopic pregnancy, multiple pregnancies, or fetal abnormalities early on, enabling prompt treatment and management.

3

Assessing placental healt

Assessing the health and position of the placenta ensures optimal fetal nourishment and minimises the risk of complications such as placenta previa.

4

Guiding prenatal interventions

In some cases, ultrasound scans may guide prenatal interventions such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) for genetic testing.

What are the types of ultrasound scans needed during pregnancy?

Several types of ultrasound scans may be recommended throughout pregnancy based on the stage of gestation and specific clinical indications. Here’s an overview of the different types of ultrasound scans.

The nuchal translucency (NT) ultrasound scan is typically done around the 11th to 14th week of pregnancy. It measures the thickness of the fluid-filled space at the back of the baby's neck, for risk of chromosomal abnormalities.

When is the best time to have a pregnancy ultrasound?

It is best to have your first pregnancy ultrasound between eight and twelve weeks to confirm it and estimate a due date. Succeeding ultrasound scans will be performed regularly and according to the gestation of the pregnancy. Here are some general guidelines:

  • First trimester

    NT ultrasound scan and first-trimester screening are typically performed between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Second trimester

    Genetic ultrasound or anatomy scan is usually conducted between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Third trimester

    Additional ultrasound scans may be recommended to assess fetal growth, amniotic fluid levels, and placental function.

Your doctor will determine the most appropriate timing for ultrasound scans based on your circumstances and any pregnancy-related concerns.

What should you expect during an obstetric ultrasound?

An ultrasound scan is a non-invasive and painless procedure. Usually, no special preparation is required for a routine ultrasound scan. However, you may be asked to drink water and have a full bladder for certain scans.

During the ultrasound scan, you will lie on a comfortable examination table, and a warm gel will be applied to your abdomen to facilitate the transmission of sound waves. The ultrasound transducer will then be gently moved over your belly to capture images of the fetus. The whole procedure should last between 20 to 30 minutes.

Can a pregnancy ultrasound detect congenital disabilities?

Yes, ultrasound scans can detect certain congenital disabilities and developmental abnormalities. However, not all congenital disabilities may be visible on ultrasound, and some may only become apparent later in pregnancy or after birth.

Furthermore, certain genetic conditions may not be detectable through ultrasound alone, so additional testing, such as NIPT or invasive procedures, may be recommended in some cases.

Ultrasound scan for pregnancy in Singapore

Pregnancy ultrasound provides valuable fetal development information, detects potential complications, and reassures expectant parents. 

At our clinic, we understand the importance of obstetric ultrasound in ensuring the health and well-being of both mother and baby. Our experienced doctors are committed to providing comprehensive prenatal care, including ultrasound imaging services. 

Dr TC Chang has been in medical practice since 1986. He is the Head of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Fetal Assessment Unit, Thomson Medical Centre .He practices at SWC Gynae Associates, Thomson Medical Centre as a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist.

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