Weekly Ultrasound Photos in Pregnancy

The use of ultrasound in pregnancy management

Pregnant Asian woman looking at ultrasound machine in hospital
Blend Images - ERproductions Ltd / Getty Images

Ultrasounds, also interchangeably called sonograms or ultrasonography, are used from early pregnancy to confirm a pregnancy through the end of your pregnancy to help you gather information about your baby. The technology uses sound waves at high frequencies that are inaudible to humans. The sound echoes off the tissue; with different tissues reflecting varying degrees of sound. These echoes are recorded and displayed as an image.

Why Are Ultrasounds Done in Pregnancy?

Pregnancy information gathered from ultrasounds include estimating a due date, checking on the viability of the pregnancy, internally visualizing the placement of your placenta, determining whether your baby is a girl or boy or simple health assessments

Do Ultrasounds Calm the Nerves of Parents?

For most expecting parents, ultrasounds can be a big relief. They give a view of the baby, they help physicians check on the health of the baby and hearing the baby's heartbeat from time to time reminds expecting parents that their life is about to change.

For some expecting parents, an ultrasound can cause them weeks of panic. Even though everything may turn out okay, ultrasounds can make parents-to-be anxious for a period of time. There are also parents who have been told there was nothing to worry about or were at low risk of something, only to find out that there was a problem.

Ultrasounds mean different things to different people. Are you prepared for potential false positives? Do you know what the next steps are if you were to find out something worrisome? Have this discussion with your doctor or your partner before an ultrasound. It might help you manage how you cope with having an ultrasound.

Some parents love the additional information, others are confused and panicked at the thought of it. There is not a right answer. Having an ultrasound is a personal choice.

Weekly Ultrasound Images

Although it is likely you will not have ultrasounds every week of your pregnancy, this collection of photos of embryos and fetuses throughout the 40-week pregnancy period broken down by trimester can help you visualize your baby along the growth timeline.

There are three trimesters during pregnancy. The first trimester is week 1 through week 12. The second trimester is week 13 to week 27. The third trimester spans week 28 through birth.

First Trimester

As early as weeks 4 to 5, just after you have missed a period, a gestational sac may be visible to confirm a pregnancy. In early pregnancy, a transvaginal ultrasound is performed, an ultrasound transducer probe is inserted into the vagina.

Second Trimester

In the second trimester, the baby is growing to the point when you might no longer need the transvaginal (internal) ultrasounds. They may start using the external type with a transducer probe swiped across your stomach. 

Third Trimester to Birth

In the second and third trimesters, you also may have scans to view the baby's anatomy, placental placement, checks on the amniotic fluid level or the position of the baby. For instance, is the baby head down or breech? The position of the baby is important for delivery decisions for you and your doctor.

Sources

  • Bricker L, Medley N, Pratt JJ. Routine ultrasound in late pregnancy (after 24 weeks' gestation). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD001451. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001451.pub4
  • Nabhan AF, Aflaifel N. High Feedback Versus Low Feedback of Prenatal Ultrasound for Reducing Maternal Anxiety and Improving Maternal Health Behaviour in Pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD007208. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007208.pub3
  • Whitworth M, Bricker L, Mullan C. Ultrasound for fetal assessment in early pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD007058. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007058.pub3

Continue Reading