The ultrasound scanner sends sound waves which reflect off the structures and organs of the mother and unborn child. The computer attached to the scanner transforms the reflected sound waves into images. Ultrasound examinations are painless and harmless for both mother and child.
Ultrasound examinations are conducted before pregnancy (e.g. unfulfilled desire for children, cyclic changes in the uterus and ovaries) and for checking up on the unborn child.
The doctor checks if the embryo and placenta are in the right place and whether there are multiples (twins, etc.). The embryo is precisely measured in order to determine the length of the pregnancy and the date of delivery. The scanner also makes it possible to recognize malformations early on by measuring the neck fold.
Gel will be put on your stomach, and the reflected sound is measured and transformed on the monitor into a three-dimensional image. Usually, the doctor can recognize arms and legs, as well as the heartbeat and any movement of the embryo, early on in the pregnancy. In the 20th week of pregnancy it is possible to clearly see the little face of the baby.
The first ultrasound test takes place between the 10th and the 14th week of pregnancy, and the second between the 20th and the 23rd week. There are no known risks for the child in ultrasound testing.
The following questions are answered during the first trimester:
- Can the heart be observed beating
- Where is the child lying in the uterus
- What stage of pregnancy has the baby reached
- Are one or more children involved
- Measurement of the nuchal translucency as an indicator of a possible chromosome disorder (e.g. Down Syndrome)
In the second and third trimester:
- Assessment of the quantity of amniotic fluid
- How much has the child grown
- Are any defects evident
- Where is the placenta positioned
- Doppler examination in the case of high risk pregnancies (blood circulation in the placenta and foetus)
- 3D ultrasound
In Switzerland, only these two ultrasound examinations are paid by health insurance. For further ultrasound examinations there needs to be a medical indication.
The best time to examine the child's organs is in the 20th - 23rd + 0 week of the pregnancy. At this point, the organs are large enough to permit a detailed sonographic examination.
View of the head and size measurement. This is where the baby's growth and brain structure analyzed.
View and assassement of the spinal column
View of the child's neck and the aortic arch
Published pictures with permission of PD Dr. Breymann, GGS Zürich