Why Ultrasound Scan Is Important In Third Trimester Of Pregnancy

The wait is getting almost unbearable, isn't it? Very soon, your little bundle of joy is going to be gurgling in your arms and you are going to begin the most exciting, tiring and rewarding phase of your life. Oh! What you wouldn't give to get a sneak peek at those bright eyes, chubby cheeks and tiny baby arms nestled comfortably inside your belly, right?

Well, there's good news! Many doctors are now asking moms to go in for a pregnancy ultrasound in the third trimester.

What Is Different In A Third Trimester Ultrasound?

The scan is largely similar to the ones you had during the first and/or second trimesters of pregnancy. With gel on your abdomen, the device will show an image of your baby to the sonographer conducting the scan. Different assessments, like the size of your baby's head and abdomen, the amount of amniotic fluid in the uterus and the blood flow to the baby, can all be accurately studied.

The biggest difference: Remember the gallons of water you had to drink for your first trimester ultrasound scan? Well, not anymore! Since your little one is much bigger now, it is easier for your doctor to get a great look at your baby without the added pressure on your already overworked bladder. Phew!

Why would I Need A Third Trimester Ultrasound?

An ultrasound test beyond 35 weeks of pregnancy is the safest and most accurate method to ensure that the baby is growing normally. Doctors suggest these scans for various reasons:

  • Does the baby look healthy? A baby should be moving their arms and legs, breathing in a regular pattern, wiggling fingers and toes or making some movements indicating general well-being.

  • Is the baby growing too big in the womb (a possible indicator of gestational diabetes in the mother)? Or is it too small? Is there too much or too little amniotic fluid? Doctors can accordingly prescribe other scans, as required.

  • Is the baby at a suitable position for delivery? If the baby is in a breech position (feet first) or a transverse position (lying sideways), a caesarean delivery may be required.

  • For multiple deliveries (twins, triplets), are all the babies growing at the same rate? If there is a difference in the size of one of the babies, doctors may suggest an earlier delivery date. You can also get to know your pregnancy due date with the help of due date calculator

  • Has the placenta moved out of the cervix? If it is still too close to the cervix, a caesarean delivery may have to be considered, to avoid complications close to birth. Know more about importance of placenta during pregnancy here

  • Is the mom above 35 years of age? Ultrasound scans are routinely recommended to ensure good health of mother and child.

  • Is the mom getting routine pre-term contractions? Through the pregnancy ultrasound, a doctor can ensure that everything looks good. While occasional false contractions are expected, regular contractions should wait until close to your due date.

What A Third Trimester Ultrasound Cannot Reveal?

The ultrasound test, while magical, cannot help you with two important details that newest parents are desperate for:

1. The exact delivery date: There is no accurate way to predict when your baby will decide to leave the safety of your womb to meet you in person.

2. The weight of your baby: Again, while the head and abdomen measurements can give you a general idea, the exact weight is also related to how long the little one is, and with the baby all curled up inside, that's impossible to predict!

Before you move on...

Remember, an ultrasound scan does not involve any radiation or side-effects. When performed by expert technicians and under medical care, it can provide invaluable information that your doctor can use to take informed decisions. Hence always ensure you choose an expert doctor and follow all medical procedures.

You can even use our pregnancy due date calculator to get an estimation of your baby’s due date & visit our hospital bag checklist page so that you are prepared for your baby’s arrival.

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