Pregnancy Ultrasound Photos

Baby Sonograms Week by Week

28 Week 3D Ultrasound of baby face and hands
Photo © The Image Bank/Getty Images

Ultrasounds, or baby sonograms,  are used from early pregnancy through the end of your pregnancy to help you gather information about your baby. That information might be a due date, the placement of your placenta, whether your baby is a girl or boy or simple health assessments. Here is an ultrasound pregnancy calendar of sorts to help you see various ultrasounds from each stage of pregnancy. You can look at the photos and get a better idea of what your baby looks like each week, even if you aren't having an ultrasound of your own.

Many moms tell us that this is incredibly helpful to them in their pregnancies.

After seeing these ultrasound photos, do you have a different view of what your baby looks like? Are you better able to imagine the hands, feet and other body parts? Be sure to come back each week and check out what baby looks like during that week. It's also a great tool to help younger siblings or even grandparents to get more involved.

Why Are Ultrasounds Done in Pregnancy?

A first-trimester ultrasound is becoming fairly routine for obstetrical care in most developed nations. These ultrasounds are used for screening and diagnosing problems and conditions in your baby, as well as measuring the health of the baby and pregnancy with multiple measures.

In early pregnancy, ultrasounds are often used to provide a more accurate due date, even more accurate than your period dates. It is also used to check on the viability of the pregnancy and to gather information about the health of the pregnancy in general. Ultrasounds done in this time frame can help reduce the risk of having undetected multiples, like a twin pregnancy, it can also help alleviate unnecessary inductions of labor later in pregnancy for having an overdue baby.

Though, it is but one piece of data.

Ultrasounds done after twenty-four weeks on a routine basis do not generally give enough data to make changes in the outcomes. That doesn't mean that you should never have an ultrasound late in pregnancy, simply that it would not be a routine ultrasound. Examples of things that may be screened for in late pregnancy with an ultrasound are low amniotic fluid, or to check on the position of the baby, or placenta. There are other uses, but these are some of the most common ones. 

Do Ultrasounds Calm the Nerves of Parents?

There are obviously parents who will tell you, yes, but it's often harder for parents to talk about how an ultrasound caused them to have a few weeks of panic, and even though everything turned out okay, they were more anxious and needlessly worried for at least a period of time. There are also parents who have been told there was nothing to worry about or a low risk of some specific thing, only to find out that there was indeed a problem.

When this question was studied in terms of did it matter how much information was given to the parents - the answer was still - we aren't sure. This is where you need to figure out what you believe and what helps you.

Are you prepared for potential false positives? Do you know what the next steps are if you were to find out something worrisome? Having this discussion before an ultrasound might help you manage how you individually cope with having an ultrasound. It's a personal decision. Some parents love the added information, others are confused and panicked at the thought of it. There isn't a right answer - your choices are your own.

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