Ultrasound in Pregnancy
Ultrasound is used to assess the health and development of the baby throughout pregnancy. Your doctor will discuss with you which examinations are needed in your pregnancy. Doppler ultrasound is used to look at blood flow in structures such as the heart and umbilical cord. Ultrasounds can only be performed when a referral has been received from a Medical Practitioner.
3D and 4D Ultrasound imaging may be used in all pregnancy ultrasound examinations. It can be helpful in diagnosis and provide very life-like pictures of your baby. The best images are obtained during the late pregnancy ultrasounds when they are most baby like in appearance.
Not everyone finds 3D images appealing. In the first half of pregnancy the image of the face can be quite skeletal in appearance.
The quality of all ultrasound images is affected by the position of the baby, the amount of fluid around the face and other maternal factors. We will always strive to provide the best images of your baby.
A USB is provided for all routine pregnancy ultrasounds. It provides a medical record of the examination as well as images for your enjoyment.
Dating and Viability
(before 11 weeks)
A dating scan is an ultrasound examination which is performed in order to establish the gestational age of the pregnancy.
Dating scans also reveal other important information such as:
- the number of fetuses and gestation sacs
- the presence of a heart beat
- the size of the fetus, from which the gestational age is estimated
- unusual features of the uterus such as the shape or the presence of fibroids
NIPT/ Percept testing
percept™ is an Australian non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) offered by The Victorian Clinical Genetics Services (VCGS). This is a screening test for identifying pregnancies at increased chance of having a chromosome condition such as Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome and Patau syndrome.
13 Week Scan/
Post NIPT Scan
This is the most important ultrasound in pregnancy. It has been shown that a high proportion of fetuses with a chromosomal abnormality such as down syndrome can be suspected at an ultrasound examination at 12 -13 weeks. This is also when we perform the 'Maternal serum screening'
20 Week Ultrasound
This ultrasound is to check organ development in detail. Some organs such as the heart, lips and palate, lower spine and digits are too small to check at 12 – 13 weeks. A detailed examination of all structures visible on ultrasound will be performed. In almost all cases reassurance will be given that the anatomy as seen on ultrasound is developing normally.
Late ultrasounds are performed to assess the growth and health of the baby. Some doctors will order this routinely at around 32 - 36 weeks. Others only if there are medical complications such as bleeding or where there is a suspicion that the baby is smaller or larger than expected.
Multiple pregnancies make up about 1.8% of all pregnancies. They occur more frequently with increasing age of the mother as well as with the use of IVF and ovulation induction. Whilst the majority of multiple pregnancies have a good outcome, there are increased rates of complications both for the mother and babies with the most common complication being premature delivery.