Posts tagged ‘trimester’

December 12, 2014

The ABC’s of Delivery Date Discovery

1024px-Mother_Kissing_BabyWhen is your baby due? This is one of the first  questions you will face from loved ones and strangers alike when you are pregnant. Determining the due date of your pregnancy, or the estimated delivery date (EDD) as we call it, means more than knowing what sign your child will be born under. It is vital to a healthy delivery.

 

An accurate due date is key to preventing pre- and post- term births and their related problems. Premature birth is associated with complications for the baby – postdate births pose different issues for baby and mom. An accurate due date is also key to evaluating fetal growth rate during the pregnancy. Inadequate growth is a serious issue for baby. Timing of obstetric care, especially knowing when it is necessary to induce labor (or NOT!) is best managed when a precise due date is known.

 

So, how does one accurately determine a due date? Traditionally, due date was calculated based on the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). However, only approximately 50% of women can recall that date accurately. Differences in menstrual cycles and time of ovulation also leads to variability in the age of the pregnancy when based solely on LMP. This leaves a lot to guesswork… Enter: ultrasound.

 

In October of 2014, several groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine issued guideline recommendations for the use of ultrasound in determining due date. This is most accurately done in the first trimester (prior to 14 weeks).

Ultrasound measures fetal length, from which your due date can be accurately derived.

 

So, once you are pregnant, for the best health for you and your precious baby know your due date with accuracy! Ultrasound in the first trimester can help keep you and your pregnancy on the path to good health.

 

(Image credit: Mother Kissing Baby by Vera Kratochvil via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public Domain)

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

March 27, 2014

Ultrasound and Pregnancy: The Third Trimester

Whoa. Third trimester!

Whoa. Third trimester!

The third trimester of pregnancy can be a kick in the ribs – literally! As the newest member of your family grows and moves, the closer the crown of the head moves toward the birth canal. This is something of a slow somersault. Often times, it’s noticeable by the kicking-in-new-places.

But sometimes it’s not readily obvious. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong, but that may be a moment when your doctor would order a third trimester ultrasound.

Here’s What To Expect:

Third trimester ultrasounds are less common but not unheard of. Just as during the first or second term ultrasound, measurements can be taken to confirm size and due date.

Here’s What You’ll See:

This ultrasound can be used to look for fetal development, size, fluid and position.  The examination is typically performed by scanning with the probe on mom’s abdomen.  It is uncommon to perform transvaginal fetal ultrasound during the third trimester.

So, if you don’t need a third trimester ultrasound – that’s totally fine. As doctors we try to be judicious about the use of imaging. Again, while an ultrasound is harmless, why go in for unnecessary tests? If your doctor does recommend a third trimester ultrasound, again – don’t worry. We simply want the best possible health – for all!

If you’d like some really comprehensive further explanations of ultrasound and pregnancy, we recommend this link.

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology here at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

March 25, 2014

Ultrasound and Pregnancy: The Second Trimester

Normal 28 week fetus on second trimester ultrasound. We're getting bigger now Mom!

Normal 28 week fetus on second trimester ultrasound. We’re getting bigger now Mom!

While the first ultrasound of a pregnancy is necessary to confirm pregnancy and initial health of the fetus and the mother, there’s more to come!

Ultrasound: 2nd Trimester Pregnancy

The second trimester ultrasound is a fun one! Now, ultrasounds are not entertainment – they are a medical screening and we doctors take them seriously for the sake of the health of all.

Luckily, ultrasounds do not involve radiation so they are safe and non-invasive. Whereas a first trimester ultrasound requires what is known as a transvaginal probe, the second trimester is done entirely externally unless there are special circumstances with mom or the baby.

What to Expect

You will be asked to come to the exam with a full bladder – we actually use the full bladder as a “window” through which we can view the pregnancy.

The exam with the bladder full will be done using a transducer across your belly to get a good evaluation of the uterus and your pelvis. This is most helpful in demonstrating the pregnancy location and fetus position.

The whole process will take about half an hour.

So… what’s the fun? Want to know if it’s a boy or girl? Want to see a clearer picture of the fetus? Now’s the time! Because most people wait until the second term to announce their pregnancy to friends and family, these images often appear on places like Facebook as the first introduction of who’s-to-come. That’s a lovely bonus.

What We Can See

But the serious side of a second term ultrasound is to determine a few important things. First, we want to confirm size and due date for this pregnancy making sure the fetal size and expected due date match up. We also want to confirm overall fetal health while performing a fetal anatomic survey. This means we can see development of the fetus and detect any possible problems. If there is any point of concern by second trimester ultrasound study often more detailed ultrasound, fetal echocardiography or other imaging can be planned to further evaluate any potential problem.

Ultimately, the second ultrasound is something to look forward to. Great information comes from the second trimester ultrasound regarding the health and welfare of mom and her baby. And, ok, it’s a little fun too.

 

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health here at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

March 20, 2014

Ultrasound and Pregnancy: The First Trimester

Normal 12 week fetus on first trimester ultrasound. Hi Mom!

Normal 12 week fetus on first trimester ultrasound. Hi Mom!

When most people hear the term “ultrasound” one particular thought comes to mind: pregnancy. Every expectant parent loves a glimpse of who’s-to-come – and finding out which color to paint the nursery is a bonus for many!

However, ultrasound is far more powerful than simply providing in utero baby snapshots. Ultrasound has revolutionized the approach to pregnancy, giving information which can save lives – the baby’s or the mother’s or sometimes both. Ultrasound uses sound waves – not radiation – to produce images, so in trained hands it is safe to use at any time during pregnancy.

During the first trimester, ultrasound is used most frequently to confirm pregnancy (along with a blood test), to confirm the location of the pregnancy and to evaluate bleeding. In the first trimester, the ultrasound will likely involve images obtained through a distended bladder and a transvaginal exam.

Here’s what to expect:

First, you will be asked to come to the exam with a full bladder – we actually use the full bladder as a “window” through which we can view the pregnancy.

The first part of the exam with the bladder full will be done using a transducer across your belly to get a view of the uterus and your pelvis. This is most helpful in demonstrating the pregnancy location. Once these images are obtained, you will be able to empty your bladder and return for what is called a transvaginal ultrasound. This involves a small probe being placed into the vagina to image the pregnancy and pelvic structures. This transducer allows better depiction of the pelvic structures and will allow more detailed evaluation – this is used in the first trimester and occasionally later in pregnancy. In the first trimester when the pregnancy is so small, the transvaginal part of the study is often key. There is usually little or no discomfort with the transvaginal study.

The whole process will take about half an hour.

What can we see in the first trimester?

It depends on the age of the pregnancy. When first visualized, the pregnancy will be a small fluid filled sac. At around 6.5  weeks, the embryo is often seen as a small peanut shaped structure – heart beating away. By the end of the first trimester, you can distinguish the head, trunk and the limbs. Everything is small, so in general gender will not be determined. We will evaluate the age of the pregnancy and compare to what you should be; confirm that the pregnancy is in the uterus; count babies – twins anyone? – look for the heartbeat, which we can only see once the embryo is big enough (7 mm is the key embryo size to expect to see a heartbeat!); and look at the pelvic structures. Fetal anatomic detail is limited by the small size, but it is amazing what you can see!

We know having babies is stressful – and not always easy! We wish you all the best, and hope this helps explain the process of the first trimester obstetric ultrasound.