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Pregnancy Scans: What Type Of Medical Imaging Safe For Mother & Baby?

Binish Ahmed

These medical scans ascertain the health & development of your baby.

A pregnancy scan allows the doctor to examine your baby, monitor its growth and development. Medical imaging during certain phases of your pregnancy can detect any abnormalities, help identify ectopic pregnancies, check the position of the baby & placenta,  etc. X-ray, CT and MRI scans are generally avoided during pregnancy due to the risk of harmful effects of radiation these procedures use.

Scans in the first trimester (1-13 weeks)

Dating & viability scan

  • To confirm pregnancy and to calculate due date
  • To check how many weeks pregnant you are
  • To check if the baby is growing normally

Nuchal translucency scan

Scans in the second trimester (14-27 weeks)

Anomaly scans

  • These ultrasound scans check for anatomical abnormalities
  • The purpose is to get a close look at the baby and the uterus
  • The doctor will examine the baby’s head, mouth, spine, abdomen, heart, kidneys and limbs
  • Congenital abnormalities like spina bifida, heart problems, cerebral palsy, autism, polycystic kidney etc can be diagnosed

Scans in the third trimester (28-40 weeks)

Ultrasound scans

  • These scans are done to check any placental or umbilical cord problems
  • To monitor the growth of the baby 
  • To check whether the amniotic fluid volume is optimum
  • Low-risk pregnancies may require only 2 scans whereas high-risk pregnancies (such as twins) will require more frequent evaluation

Frequently asked questions(FAQS) about pregnancy scans

How to prepare for a pregnancy scan?

Before the scan, ensure that your bladder is full so that a high-quality image of the foetus can be obtained. Make sure that you drink at least 1-2 litres of water an hour before your ultrasound scan.

How is an ultrasound scan done?

Ultrasound scan is a simple and painless technique. You will be asked to lie down on the examination table and the doctor/technician will apply a gel on your abdomen and pelvic area. A small wand-like instrument called the transducer will be moved all over your belly. The movement will capture black and white images of the foetus.

Does sonography hurt? 

Generally, sonography does not hurt. But if you have existing pelvic injuries or abdominal pain, the pressure put by the transducer can be slightly painful.

What types of scans are done in a pregnancy? 

The following scans may be conducted during pregnancy based on the trimester and presence of any abnormalities in the mother or baby:

  • Dating & viability scan
  • 3-D ultrasound scan
  • 4-D ultrasound scan
  • Transabdominal ultrasound scan
  • Doppler ultrasound scan
  • Transvaginal ultrasound scan
  • Fetal echocardiography scan
Are there any side-effects of pregnancy scans?

Ultrasound scans are being used for many decades and till date, no side-effects have been observed.

Can I know the gender of my child by scanning? 

No, it is illegal in India to reveal the baby’s gender via medical imaging or tests.

Is it safe to get a scan done? 

Medical imaging allows the doctor to examine your baby, monitor its growth and development and detect abnormalities if any. Always remember that pregnancy scans are required to ascertain the health and development of your baby, so do not miss out any appointments and follow your doctor’s advice.

You can now book radiology services from the best medical imaging centres in your city at attractive discounts with a free doctor consultation online. Download the MFine app to book your medical scan today.

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