- What Is a Pregnancy Ultrasound?
- Which Pregnancy Ultrasounds Are Recommended?
- What Are the Benefits of a Pregnancy Ultrasound?
- What are the Risks of a Pregnancy Ultrasound?
- Are Ultrasounds During Pregnancy Necessary?
- Pregnancy Ultrasounds FAQ for Moms
- What is an ultrasound scan during pregnancy?
- How many ultrasound scans are recommended during pregnancy?
- Are ultrasound scans safe for the baby?
- Can an ultrasound scan detect all fetal abnormalities?
- What should I expect during an ultrasound scan?
- How much does an ultrasound scan cost?
- Is an ultrasound scan covered by insurance?
- How accurate is an ultrasound scan in determining gestational age?
- Is it possible to determine the gender of the baby through an ultrasound scan?
- Can ultrasound scans be used for non-medical purposes?
- How do I prepare for an ultrasound scan during pregnancy?
- Conclusion: Using Pregnancy Ultrasounds to Save Babies and Souls
At PreBorn!, we ask our supporters to contribute toward the cost so an expectant mother can receive a free ultrasound. But what are you really paying for? Why do we focus on ultrasounds to prevent abortion? And is it safe for mother and baby?
In this article, we’ll explain the most common types of pregnancy ultrasounds, the risks and benefits, and why ultrasounds are vital to pro-life advocates.
What Is a Pregnancy Ultrasound?
A pregnancy ultrasound is a medical diagnostic scan, that is performed to view a developing fetus. A certified sonographer uses an instrument called a transducer to convert sound waves to pictures. An ultrasound transducer sends sound waves through the skin and placenta, so when the sound bounces back, an image of internal structures is formed on a screen.
The transducer may be used in two ways. During a transvaginal ultrasound, a thin wand is inserted through the vagina. The more common method is a transabdominal ultrasound, where the sonographer moves a small wand across the abdomen.
An ultrasound can produce three types of pictures. The most common is called a Doppler ultrasound. The Doppler ultrasound produces flat, black-and-white two-dimensional (2-D) photos so a doctor can see the outline of a baby’s internal organs.
A physician may also order a three-dimensional (3-D) ultrasound to get lifelike still photos of the baby’s external features and to see the baby’s width, height, and depth.
A four-dimensional (4-D) ultrasound is the same as a 3-D, except as a video, which allows the doctor to observe a baby’s movements.
Which Pregnancy Ultrasounds Are Recommended?
Most licensed practitioners acknowledge two routine pregnancy ultrasounds. In the next section, we’ll explain what they are, along with the purposes, benefits, and risks for each.
The dating ultrasound is conducted between 8-12 weeks of gestation. The purpose is for doctors to confirm the gestational age of the baby as well as the due date, size, and position, and to determine whether twins or triplets are present.
The second routine ultrasound in pregnancy is the anatomy scan, which is done at 20-22 weeks. The purpose is to observe the baby’s anatomy and developing structures for any defects or birth disorders. Parents may even learn the gender of the baby.
What Are the Benefits of a Pregnancy Ultrasound?
In most cases, an ultrasound provides reassurance for the parents, especially first-time moms who don’t know what to expect. The uncertainty that the baby may be under stress or at risk is torturous for expectant parents, and the stress is not good for the baby. An ultrasound can safely remove the stress to provide a healthy experience for both mother and baby.
Bond with baby
Ultrasounds performed in alignment with medical necessity are an amazing opportunity for a mother to bond with her baby. Nearly every mother dreams of the day she will see her baby and hear their little heartbeat. It’s confirmation of the life inside her, the first glimpse of the little boy or girl she will love more than anyone else will, for the rest of her life.
An ultrasound provides a tangible experience of life. This confirmation of the baby growing inside the woman naturally triggers her motherly instinct to love and protect that child at all costs.
At PreBorn!, we show mothers what is really happening inside the womb. We introduce a mother to her baby early on, with a first-trimester ultrasound. That ultrasound validates her pregnancy, so it is no longer just a diagnosis.
Consider one of many testimonies of hope from our blog.
Although Michelle considered adoption, she had her doubts. It wasn’t until she witnessed the life within her womb that she made up her mind. Seeing the little fingers and toes of her baby on an ultrasound, along with listening to her baby’s beating heart, were defining moments in Michelle’s decision process — moments used by the Lord to show Michelle the truth about the development of life.
In recounting the experience, Michelle said, “When I came to get my ultrasound, that’s when I made my final decision — that’s when I decided I was going [to go with] adoption instead of abortion.”
An ultrasound provides the perfect opportunity for a mother to ask questions. Regular pregnancy check-ups can feel rushed, but during the ultrasound, the mother lies down in a relaxed setting for about twenty minutes and has the opportunity to have a casual conversation with the sonographer. Typically, the doctor reads and delivers the results right away, which is the perfect time to get more information and build the patient-physician relationship.
Confirm the due date
The dating ultrasound is named for its primary purpose and benefit, to confirm the due date. Doctors use the mother’s last date of her most recent cycle to calculate the due date, but many women are not able to provide an accurate date, especially if their cycle is irregular.
Premature birth and overdue pregnancies present a cascade of difficult health care decisions that are inappropriate during the normal gestational period. Therefore, an incorrect due date can lead to less-than-ideal outcomes.
For example, if a mother believes the baby is late, she may opt for induced labor. If the baby is not ready, induced labor is more likely to result in the premature cesarean birth of a baby whose lungs are not fully developed. Conversely, an early due date presents risks associated with an overdue pregnancy. There may also be an unnecessary concern and follow-up care for a perceived premature birth that is, in fact, right on time.
It is also important to understand the size and position of the baby, and if there is more than one, so the family and medical team can prepare for a safe delivery.
The benefit of observing any defects or disorders during the Anatomy Scan is to prepare for the birth. Providers can be on standby to treat complications that may otherwise take them by surprise and lead to less favorable outcomes, including maternal or fetal death.
What are the Risks of a Pregnancy Ultrasound?
Every medical procedure has potential risk factors. In this section, you will discover that the disadvantages associated with pregnancy ultrasounds are most commonly linked to either the follow-up or misuse by unlicensed tests rather than the ultrasounds itself.
An uninsured mother may not be able to afford the ultrasound, in which case, we recommend contacting community resources for assistance.
Are pregnancy ultrasounds safe?
Many studies have confirmed pregnancy ultrasounds are safe for both mother and child when performed properly by trained medical professionals.
Ultrasound images are formed from sound waves, which present two risk factors, noise and heat. Studies have shown that the decibel level of the sound in utero is low and safe, and the heat transmitted is negligible.
Studies continue to perform due diligence by searching for instances when the recommended ultrasounds were associated with risk but researchers have been unable to substantiate any correlation. Medical experts acknowledge we do not know what they will discover in the future, so they caution providers to perform the tests as directed.
Misreading and false positives
The primary risk of a dating ultrasound is the possibility of mistaken readings for date and size. It is also possible for nuances such as shadows and the baby’s position to lead to false readings and undue concern.
Similar to the risk of the dating ultrasound, it’s possible for the Anatomy Scan to yield a false positive or misreading that causes preventable stress and anxiety.
Risks of misuse
Ultrasounds cause harm such as when done improperly by those who purchase at-home ultrasound monitors, by those within unregulated fetal keepsake photo boutiques, and through unlicensed clinical providers.
Providers who are not medically trained and certified present a significant risk of harm by concentrating the sound waves for too long, at intense settings, and in the wrong areas.
Elevated settings create sound waves of higher decibels that have been measured to replicate the sound of a subway racing through a busy tunnel. Consequently, the resulting heat levels can cause permanent damage to the baby’s developing brain and organs.
Sonographers go through years of study and training to use the machines safely. Licensed practitioners know which setting to use to keep the baby safe.
Are Ultrasounds During Pregnancy Necessary?
Many mothers wonder if both ultrasounds are necessary. The dating ultrasound and anatomy scan are accepted as the standard of medical care, and anything less may be viewed as negligent. Many obstetricians and hospitals will not provide care for a mother who declines either ultrasound. Other Clinics require the mother to sign a waiver if she declines the ultrasound.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) specifically recommends getting the Anatomy Scan as a minimum of care because it provides information to help parents and providers prepare for issues.
Ultrasounds save lives
At PreBorn!, we believe the benefits far outweigh the risks, especially when the ultrasound results are managed through the knowledge and wisdom of a trained pro-life medical professional.
We summarize our most recent work in the 2022 Impact Statement. In 2022, licensed practitioners at PreBorn! Network Clinics provided 91,357 ultrasounds. Nearly 60 percent of those mothers moved forward with the pregnancy, giving life to 53,452 babies.
Sonographers in our Network of Clinics don’t stop at the ultrasound. Their duty is to save babies and souls. In 2022 alone, our staff shared the gospel and 9,544 adults committed their lives to Christ, which means their babies will grow up with a parent who knows Jesus.
A life saved
In short, your donation to PreBorn! Network Clinics saves lives both now and for eternity, including Melina and her family. Melina chose abortion for three pregnancies before coming to a PreBorn! Network Clinic.
She broke down in tears and decided right there to face the risk of losing her job, along with any other obstacles that may arise, in order to keep her baby. Melina said no to abortion.
The ultrasound tech then presented the gospel to Melina and shared how Christ loved her and forgives her. Melina bowed her head and accepted Jesus as her Savior.
Two days later, Melina brought her boyfriend of four years to the Clinic to speak with a counselor. He too was presented with the gospel message and accepted Jesus Christ!
Melina chose life, not only for her unborn baby, but also eternal life for herself, and helped to lead her boyfriend to everlasting life as well.
Pregnancy Ultrasounds FAQ for Moms
There may be loads of questions you have regarding ultrasounds. We did our best to combine the top questions in order to answers yours.
What is an ultrasound scan during pregnancy?
A pregnancy ultrasound is a medical diagnostic scan performed to view a developing fetus. A certified sonographer uses an instrument called a transducer to convert sound waves to pictures. An ultrasound transducer sends sound waves through the skin and placenta, so when the sound bounces back, an image of the internal structures is formed on a screen.
How many ultrasound scans are recommended during pregnancy?
Two ultrasounds are recommended, the Dating Ultrasound at around twelve weeks, and the Anatomy Scan at around twenty weeks.
Are ultrasound scans safe for the baby?
Ultrasound scans are safe for both mother and baby when performed by a licensed medical professional.
Can an ultrasound scan detect all fetal abnormalities?
No. An ultrasound can detect some, but not all abnormalities
What should I expect during an ultrasound scan?
The most common scan is a transabdominal ultrasound where you will lie down in a bed and lift your top to expose your tummy. The sonographer will apply gel on your tummy and then slide a transducer wand over the skin for about twenty minutes to get the photos.
For a transvaginal scan, you will undress from the waist down and rest your feet in stirrups while the sonographer inserts a thin tube through the vagina.
How much does an ultrasound scan cost?
Depending on your insurance plan and residence, you may pay nothing, or you could pay up to several thousand dollars. At PreBorn! Network Clinics, all ultrasound scans are free.
Is an ultrasound scan covered by insurance?
Most insurance plans cover ultrasounds as the standard of care during pregnancy, and additional scans prescribed by a licensed provider as medically necessary. We recommend contacting your insurance company for details or exclusions of your plan.
How accurate is an ultrasound scan in determining gestational age?
The Dating Ultrasound can determine the gestational age within a 5-7 day range.
Is it possible to determine the gender of the baby through an ultrasound scan?
If the baby is old enough and presenting in a viewable position, you may learn the baby’s gender during the Anatomy Scan.
Can ultrasound scans be used for non-medical purposes?
Licensed medical professionals write prescriptions for medically necessary ultrasounds. Non-licensed Clinics and fetal keepsake studios will do a non-diagnostic ultrasound for a fee.
How do I prepare for an ultrasound scan during pregnancy?
An ultrasound is a brief scan done either at a Clinic or a hospital. Some providers recommend coming to the appointment with a full bladder. Dress comfortably and follow any instructions provided by your doctor.
Conclusion: Using Pregnancy Ultrasounds to Save Babies and Souls
Ultrasounds are safe when prescribed as medically necessary and performed by licensed practitioners. When done by a licensed sonographer, the risks associated with ultrasounds are small.
The scans are widely accepted as necessary to provide the best possible outcomes for both mother and child. During an ultrasound, a mother will bond with her baby while the doctor gathers information to confirm the due date and determine if there may be any birth defects or abnormalities.
We encourage mothers who are unsure about getting an ultrasound to discuss her concerns with her doctor. Most insurance companies cover medically necessary scans.
PreBorn! Network Clinics rely on the support of our donors to provide ultrasounds to expecting mothers. Your support does so much more than establish a due date. It’s said that abortion leaves one dead and another wounded.
Every ultrasound at a PreBorn! Network Clinic is a chance to save at least two babies and two souls, just like Jill, Thomas, and their little one.
They had told each other that if the ultrasound did not show a beating heart, they were going to drive straight to their abortion appointment. As the ultrasound nurse performed the ultrasound, the screen revealed a tiny beating heart. A smile came upon Jill’s face and with tears rolling down her face, she said, “I am going to be a momma!” Jill and Thomas canceled their abortion appointment and made an appointment for the Clinic’s prenatal classes. They left the PreBorn! [Network] Clinic excited for their future with their baby!