How Many Ultrasounds Are Done During a Pregnancy?
That first glimpse of your baby in an ultrasound picture is an exciting moment — the high-frequency sound waves of an ultrasound creates a picture of the placenta and baby in the uterus.
Ultrasounds should be used only when medically indicated, according to Tracy Hampton, Ph.D., writing for the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center website. The number may vary, but most healthy women will have two ultrasounds.
What the Ultrasound Looks For
The doctor chooses one of seven ultrasound exams, depending on the stage of the pregnancy and the reason for the exam. The most common ultrasound procedure is the standard ultrasound.
During the first trimester, an ultrasound confirms the pregnancy and the estimated age of the fetus. In the second trimester, a physician is likely to order an ultrasound to look for birth defects or to determine if the woman is carrying more than one fetus.
In the third trimester, an ultrasound can identify potential complications and determine the baby’s placement in the uterus.
Most Women Have Two
In a healthy pregnancy, the physician might not even order an ultrasound at all. In most cases, however, a pregnant woman has one ultrasound in the first trimester to confirm the due date and a second ultrasound at 18 weeks, according to Hampton.
The physician orders the second scan to check for normal anatomy and to confirm the sex of the baby. Mothers who have medical problems, such as gestational diabetes, typically will have more than two scans.