When will the doctor schedule my diagnostic screening pregnancy ultrasound?

There are multiple scenarios when your doctor may order an ultrasound throughout your pregnancy. Typically, the screening ultrasound is performed at approximately 20 weeks gestation. At this time of pregnancy, we can screen for many malformations (abnormalities). At 20 weeks gestation, it is easier to evaluate complete fetal anatomy rather than performing the exam earlier in your pregnancy. Fetal anatomy generally evaluated at this time consists of: fetal gender, fetal extremities, cranial anatomy, abdominal organs, cardiac development and spinal evaluation among many other fetal observations. At this approximate 20-week appointment, we can attempt to obtain a 3D image of the baby’s face. This would depend on your baby’s position.

The patient is advised to drink 24 to 32 ounces of  non-carbonated  beverage at least one hour prior to scheduled appointment  This full bladder allows the sonographer to evaluate the patient’s cervical canal. This is very important to evaluate placental location, and to confirm that the cervix appears long and closed to support the pregnancy. If there is any concern of cervical incompetence, a trans-vaginal exam will be performed.

The patient should be reminded that this exam is a medical procedure. It demands full attention and concentration by the sonographer performing the ultrasound. While family is welcome to observe the procedure, the sonographer cannot be responsible for unattended children. Fetal movement and images will be recorded on a CD and given to the patient. This can be shared at a later time with extended family members.

This exam is a very exciting bonding experience for the parents. At Agnesian HealthCare, we will do “Simply the Best” to make this appointment an enjoyable visit.

Authored by:

Lil Possin, RTR, ARDMS

Jessica Miller, RTR, ARDMS

Rene Rosenbaum Schlough, RTR, ARDMS

About Agnesian HealthCare Womens Health

Addressing the physical, emotional and educational needs of women, Agnesian HealthCare's Women's Health Services offers the resources that apply to your life, in all its wonderful complexity. With a Health Resource Center, Obstetric Services, a Domestic Violence Program, Behavioral Health Services and programs serving women in mid-life, a number of options are available in the Fond du Lac, Ripon and Waupun areas.

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