A sonogram is one of the types of ultrasounds during pregnancy that may be ordered by your health care provider. A sonogram is a picture of the fetus as it resides in the uterus. The picture is produced using sound waves of a high frequency that are not audible to the human ear. Adults hear sounds up to 20 kilohertz. The ultrasound is much higher than that. Although the parents usually want the picture to identify the sex of the unborn child, most of the time the purpose of the ultrasound is because the health care provider needs to have information that only the test could provide. Not only can the technician see the movements of the baby in utero, but also the technician can tell the gestational age of the child and can monitor its growth by comparing pictures.
In this article we will discuss one of the ultrasounds during pregnancy that is called a Level 2 Ultrasound (L2U). This is a procedure that is done to measure the baby and to check is the baby is the appropriate size for the gestational age. The vital organs can be checked for proper development and function and the sex of the baby can be seen. The information gathered by the technician will be used to determine gestational age and development. The organs are surveyed, the umbilical cord is measured, the amniotic fluid level is noted and the measurements of the baby from head to rear will all be vital bits of data that will help the technician. You should tell the technician or your health care provider that you do or do not want to know the sex of the child before the test is run.
The L2U will be performed during the second trimester of the gestation sometime between 18 and 22 weeks. The health care provider wants to perform the test on the 20th week, but a lot of times the woman does not know her date of conception and the health care provider will use the test to help make that determination. This test has become a routine part of testing while the mother is carrying the baby. If the woman is high risk or is carrying multiples then the ultrasounds during pregnancy will be conducted on a more regular basis. The importance of these tests cannot be denied. They can detect genetic disorders, Down’s syndrome, trisomy 18 and 13 and other disorders in the developing fetus. If abnormalities are detected at any time during any of the tests then specialists can be on hand to help explain the results to the parents and to provide valuable information for their decision making. There are a lot of disorders that can be identified in the womb that can be treated in the womb and a healthy baby can be carried to full term.
Before we leave the discussion of these tests let’s look at how they are done. The woman will lie down on a table in a gown open to expose her abdominal area. The technician will apply a gel to the area that she will move an instrument over that is called a transducer. This instrument emits the sound waves that create the ultrasound picture by bouncing off solid matter in the womb. The solid matter is the structure of the baby to include the skeletal and the organ make up. The images are projected onto a screen much like a television set. As the transducer passes over each area a different image is projected. At several times during this process the technician will snap a picture that will freeze the image into a picture that can be reviewed by the health care provider. The purpose of ultrasounds during pregnancy is to provide a detailed picture of the baby for the health care provider to use for information that will be needed for directing care for the baby and the mother.