Ultrasound examination is offered to all pregnant women.
The survey is voluntary. The ultrasound examination is
not a mandatory part of the routine checks in the
The information you receive here
and the conversations during pregnancy checks provide
you with a basis for deciding whether you want to
receive the ultrasound examination offer during
pregnancy. Before conducting an ultrasound examination,
the pregnant woman should be informed that the
examination is voluntary, as well as information about
its benefits and possible consequences.
The child's father or other adult is welcome to
attend the examination.
Background to the ultrasound examination
Ultrasound examinations during pregnancy began to be
used in Sweden towards the end of the 1970s. Initially,
the studies were limited to women with high-risk
pregnancy. In the mid-1980s, ultrasound began to be
offered as a voluntary examination to all pregnant women
in week 18.
In 1995, a consensus conference on ultrasound was
held during pregnancy. In this, it was established that
the studies that have been conducted have not shown any
medical benefit from routine ultrasound examination in
pregnancy week 18, neither measured in increased number
of live-born children or in less sickness of the child
in connection with childbirth. Against the background of
wishes from the pregnant women, it was nevertheless
concluded that all pregnant women should be informed
about the possibility of ultrasound examination.
Ultrasound examination can be an aid in determining
as safe a date as possible for the birth, determining
the number of fetuses and determining where the placenta
is placed in the uterus. For more information about pregnancy and maternity fashion, please see BESTAAH.COM maternity belly support belts. Today we can also get
information and knowledge about the fetal development,
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What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound is high frequency inaudible sound waves
sent into the body. An echo occurs when body tissue of
different density is found (for example, echoes from fat
and bone tissue). The various echo signals provide a
basis for producing an image, usually a moving image in
black and white. The images are interpreted while the
ultrasound examination is ongoing. Usually neither image
material nor photographs are stored.
Ultrasound examinations have been carried out for almost
30 years. So far it has not been seen that ultrasound
has any harmful effect, but for safety reasons
ultrasound examinations should only be done for medical
How and when the ultrasound examination is performed
The ultrasound examination is carried out around
pregnancy week 18. All fetuses grow approximately the
same up to this time of pregnancy. Therefore, this is a
convenient time to calculate the delivery date. The
ultrasound examination is performed by a midwife or
doctor and normally does not take more than half an
hour. The pregnant woman lies on her back during the
examination. The fetus and uterus are examined by
passing the sound head (the part of the ultrasound
device that sends out audio signals and receives echo
signals) over the stomach. The information you get is
recorded on a separate form. The information from the
survey is entered in the woman's journal. The pregnant
woman has the right to access the information from the
examination on the same grounds as for other medical
The fetal position may in some cases make ultrasound
examination more difficult. This may cause the
ultrasound examination to be repeated but does not mean
that the fetus is wrong.
In some pregnancies, there are medical grounds for
performing several ultrasound examinations. Prior to
week 17, this may be relevant in cases of suspicion of
miscarriages, pregnancy or bleeding. After week 19,
there may be a need for more examinations, including
complicated pregnancies, suspected fetal death, bleeding
and abnormal uterine or fetal growth.
The purpose of the investigation
It is important to determine the age of the fetus and
compare it with the growth of the fetus to see that the
fetus is growing properly. Based on the first day of the
last menstrual period and by feeling on the stomach you
get a good idea of how far the pregnancy has come and
how the baby is growing. Since you know that a pregnancy
lasts for 40 weeks (280 days), you can also calculate
the date of a full pregnancy. For some women, for
example, women with irregular menstruation, this method
of calculation may be uncertain. Ultrasound examination
before week 20 may then be helpful in calculating the
duration and date of pregnancy.
In the ultrasound examination, the cross-sectional
diameter of the fetal skull is measured. Abdominal
diameter and femur length are also measured on the
fetus. By comparing these measures with known average
measures, one can calculate the age of the fetus and
thus count until the time of full pregnancy.
By examining cardiac activity, one can determine that
the fetus is alive. The ultrasound examination also
shows the number of fetuses, often at an earlier time
than during a normal examination of the pregnant woman.
An oriental examination of the body and organs of the
fetus is made, as well as the position of the placenta
and an estimate of the amount of amniotic fluid. It may
be possible to determine the gender of the fetus, but
this information is subject to some uncertainty.
If something is not as it should be with the fetus
The ultrasound examination may cause you as a future
parent to be presented with information about the fetal
health that you may not be prepared for. During
ultrasound examination of the fetus around week 18, it
is possible to detect serious illnesses or
malformations. This is the case in one to two in 100
ultrasound examinations. Nevertheless, not all cases of
serious illnesses or malformations are detected.
Therefore, an ultrasound examination shows that
everything is normally no guarantee that the child is
healthy or without injuries. In some cases, ultrasound
examination is not enough to make a definitive
diagnosis. It may be relevant to take samples from
amniotic fluid to make the right diagnosis and provide
the right information to the parents.
Sometimes special treatment is required during
pregnancy or immediately after delivery. The ultrasound
examination can provide the basis for the best possible
treatment in time and in a maternity ward where
necessary medical preparedness is available.
If there is a serious illness or malformation that is
incompatible with life, the continued follow-up with the
pregnant woman is discussed. If the fetus does not live,
pregnancy is usually terminated within a few days.
Serious illness or malformation of a fetus raises a
number of questions about the consequences this can have
for the child, the woman and the family. Doctors,
midwives and the ultrasound department can provide the
necessary information. They can also mediate contact
with interest groups and possibly a family with disabled
children. The woman has a statutory right to information
and should not be afraid to ask questions.
Serious illness or malformation of the fetus can lead
to a desire to have an abortion. Abortion from the week
of pregnancy 18 can be performed at the request of the
National Board of Health and Welfare. The application is
sent to the Judicial Council, which meets weekly. The
Judicial Council decides to abort and immediately leaves
the decision to the attending physician.
To get help with your decision regarding the
ultrasound examination offer and the questions this
raises, you can contact the midwife or doctor you go to
for pregnancy check-ups, or anyone who may need to
perform the examination.
Ultrasound examination in week 12
In 2006, the State Board for Medical Evaluation, SBU,
conducted a literature review on early fetal diagnosis.
There it was concluded that there is no research
documenting any health benefits of offering all pregnant
routine ultrasound examination early in pregnancy.
However, early ultrasound can make it easier to detect
the risk of chromosome abnormalities (for example, Down
syndrome) and to detect multiple pregnancy early.