Ultrasounds are powerful tools for monitoring the growth, development and well-being of fetuses. Ultrasound equipment bounces harmless sound waves off the fetus and other structures within the mother's body. The result is a moving picture visible on a computer monitor.
Our physicians work with a team of highly specialized maternal-fetal medicine ultrasonographers to evaluate your pregnancy using detailed ultrasound, sometimes referred to as Level II ultrasound. These ultrasounds are done during both routine and high-risk pregnancies. Here are some of the most typical reasons for detailed ultrasounds:
To determine the risk of chromosomal abnormalities
In the first trimester, we complete sequential screening ultrasounds. In the second trimester, we offer comprehensive (level II) ultrasounds.
In cases of increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities
If maternal age or a previous positive screening test or abnormal ultrasound has indicated an elevated risk of abnormalities, an ultrasound at Novant Health Maternal-Fetal Medicine can more precisely examine concerns.
In cases of multiple gestation
Having twins, triplets or higher order multiples requires specialized care and monitoring.
In cases of suspected abnormalities
If previous ultrasounds or other testing has revealed concerns involving the fetus, placenta, amniotic fluid, uterus or ovaries, an ultrasound can examine the developing fetus as well as nearby structures.
If there is a family history of birth defects
If a prior child, parent or other close family member was born with a birth defect, there could be an elevated risk of related defects.
If pregnancy complications arise
If an expectant mother has a complication such as threatened preterm delivery, preeclampsia, bleeding, placenta previa or abnormal amniotic fluid volume, or in cases of abnormal fetal growth, ultrasounds are used to assess the concern.
If there is a history of complications in prior pregnancies
While it is possible to have a high-risk pregnancy followed by a more routine one, it is important to monitor subsequent pregnancies in mothers who have had pregnancy losses, abnormal fetal growth, preeclampsia or prior preterm delivery.
If the mother has a medical condition that can affect pregnancy
Mothers with medical concerns including diabetes, hypertension, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, lupus, sickle cell disease, blood clotting disorder or abnormal blood antibodies are monitored closely during pregnancy to ensure proper disease management.