Frequently Asked Questions On Ultrasound Services

How does an ultrasound work?

An ultrasound creates high frequency sound waves (that you cannot hear), which are reflected back by parts inside you, be it tissue, bone or even your baby! A small transducer, or probe, emits the sound waves. There are different types of probes for different purposes.

During your pregnancy, you will be subject to a trans abdominal scan the majority of the time, using a abdominal probe over your stomach. On certain occasions, a vaginal probe may also be used.

Who performs an ultrasound?

Several individuals can perform an ultrasound. It is most common for a qualified sonographer to perform an ultrasound. They are trained to use ultrasound equipment, as well as take measurements of your baby. It is not uncommon for midwives and gynecologists to also perform an ultrasound, should a sonographer not be present. Gynecologists, midwives, clinical officers, as well as sonographers, are trained to interpret images from an ultrasound.

What is a Dating Ultrasound?

A dating ultrasound is used to assess the expected date of delivery (EDD) of the baby, and it is done by measuring its size from its head to its bottom. Whilst there is no guarantee that your baby will arrive on the day predicted from this scan, a dating scan is helpful because it allows you and your hospital to plan your pregnancy journey out as best as possible. It is particularly useful if you cannot remember your last menstrual period, and is most accurate when performed in your first trimester.

The dating ultrasound will also allow you to see your baby’s movements, its heart beating, and if your baby is growing normally. It will also allow you to check for twins.

We at Jacaranda Maternity strongly recommend a dating ultrasound in weeks 8 – 13 of your pregnancy journey, and this is another reason why you should start your ANC visits with us as soon as possible.

What is an Anatomy Ultrasound?

An anatomy ultrasound is a very detailed ultrasound scan, that assesses whether there are any anomalies taking place with the pregnancy, which can only be picked up at this stage through ultrasound. More specifically, the ultrasound assesses

  • Baby measurements from head to bottom
  • Any abnormalities in the growth of the heart, spine, stomach, kidneys and limbs
  • Genetic disorders such as Down’s Syndrome and trisomy 18
  • The level of the placenta in the uterus; a low lying placenta may lead to increased bleeding during labour

An anatomy ultrasound will also be able to assess the gender of the baby, up to 95% accuracy.

A well performed anatomy scan offers a fascinating journey around your womb, the home of your baby, as well as a great insight as to the development of your baby!

An anatomy ultrasound often takes between 45 to even 75 minutes, and requires a lot of concentration from your sonographer, especially if your baby is positioned in a way that it is difficult for the sonographer to see all the body parts.

It is best performed during your second trimester. We at Jacaranda Maternity recommend the anatomy scan between 20 – 24 weeks of your pregnancy.

What is a Presentation Ultrasound?

A presentation ultrasound is done to determine whether the baby is presenting in the correct position inside your womb before birth. A ‘correct’ position is usually known as a cephalic position; meaning head is down towards the cervix and the bottom is high up in the womb. The presentation ultrasound should be able to detect whether that isn’t the case, and you will be advised next steps based on this assessment.

Considering that the baby can still move around all the way through the pregnancy, a presentation ultrasound is best observed in the final trimester, to make the best assessment about how the baby is likely to be positioned when you go into labor.

We at Jacaranda Maternity recommend a presentation ultrasound between weeks 36 – 40 of your pregnancy.

How do I prepare for an ultrasound?

Please be aware that certain ultrasounds are performed vaginally instead of abdominally, therefore it is advisable to wear loose fitting clothing. You may be required to drink fluid or avoid urinating prior to a fetal ultrasound. If the ultrasound is across the abdomen, you will have some gel administered by the sonographer to improve the conduction of sound waves transmitted by the ultrasound.

I am worried about the ultrasound affecting my baby

Don't worry. Did you know that an ultrasound uses sound waves, therefore making it much safer or you and your baby than an X-ray? There has been no evidence that an ultrasound is harmful to either you or your baby.