Pregnancy scans and ultrasounds explained

Ultrasounds and pregnancy scans form an integral part of pregnancy care – they act as an effective way of checking on how your baby is developing, and can reveal some important information that you might be interested to know. Things like how far along you are, your due date, your baby’s gender, and whether or not you’re having a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets etc.) can all be discovered by an ultrasound scan. There are quite a few types of pregnancy scans available, so if you’d like some clarity on what you can expect from each of your options then read on.

Dating scan

A dating scan can be conducted in your first trimester to find out your approximate due date. This type of ultrasound is usually offered to women who are more than 8 weeks pregnant to achieve the most accurate results, but can also be completed after 6 weeks of pregnancy.

First trimester screening scan

Also known as the “nuchal translucency scan”, this scan is generally performed at around 12-14 weeks in a pregnancy and provides an opportunity for assessment of the risk of Down syndrome.  It can also provide some reassuring information about your baby’s physical development at the end of the first trimester.  The decision to screen for Down syndrome, and which screening test to use, is an individual one and is best made in consultation with your specialist.

Anomaly scan

The anomaly scan is used to examine the physical development of your baby, as well as the position of the placenta, the state of the cervix, and the amniotic fluid volume. This type of pregnancy scan is best conducted between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy and usually takes about 45 minutes. At this point, the gender of your baby can also be revealed if you wish to know.

3D and 4D baby scans

While there is no medical advantage to having one of these scans, some parents like to have more detailed images of their babies and therefore these scans are offered by most medical imaging providers. A 3D scan takes thousands of photos of the baby, which are then translated by advanced computer software into a three dimensional image which is almost as clear as a photograph. 4D scans incorporate your baby’s movements to provide a real-time video of your baby opening its eyes, changing its facial expressions, kicking and so forth. These scans are usually best completed between 26 and 30 weeks of pregnancy to provide the best image possible, but as they are not a medical necessity, there is usually no Medicare rebate for these types of scans.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions about pregnancy scans, or your pregnancy in general, please feel free to get in touch with us. Here at Hatch, we offer a free, no-obligation initial consultation with one of our midwives, who will take you through our process of pregnancy care. This is a great opportunity for you to meet some of our staff and decide if Nest Private Maternity feels like the right choice for you, as well as allowing us to evaluate whether you are eligible for care with us. You can make this initial midwife appointment by calling us on 3332 1950 or requesting an appointment online.