The Importance of the 20 Week Ultrasound

Ultrasonic technology has improved since its inception. If the baby cooperates, you can see fingers, toes, spikes and even a little face. You may also be able to see the anatomy of the baby. Let your doctor know your intentions in the discovering the sex (whether you want to know or not).

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves  which are used to produce pictures of what is inside you. You may not be able to see much but technicians trained to interpret the images. In most sonograms, the image is  in black and white.

At 19-20 weeks of pregnancy, there is usually a good view of the limbs and internal organs.

Is it a boy or a girl?

One of the great advantages of having a 20-week ultrasound is that it is possible at this stage of pregnancy to see if your baby is a boy or a girl. But if you are willing to hold it a surprise until the baby is born, then you better tell the sonographer before the start of the procedure. If one of you wants to know, then the sonographer could provide the baby’s sex on a piece of paper and place it in an envelope to read later. But remember, the best thing the sonographers can advise is that your baby will be “likely” to be a sex or another. 100% guaranteed sex are not provided by ultrasound.

Keep in mind that sometimes it is quite clear on the screen, what sex the baby is, when you take the utrasound. Also your baby could lie in a bad position so you can’t tell the sex of the baby unless it is willing to move a little.

Will my 20-week ultrasound detect all anomalies?

No, the 20-week scan does not provide 100% detection of all or abnormalities. On average, approximately 50% can be detected, and the rest is not visible at the time of study or until birth. In particular, heart defects and bowel contamination often develop in later stages. It is estimated that abput 40-70% of structural abnormalities can be detected on a 20-week ultrasound.

What if an abnormality is detected during an ultrasound scan?

The results of the ultrasound are examined by a specialist sonographer and reported. Depending on the concern, more ultrasound scans can be ordered with other diagnostic tests.

If an abnormality is found you will be notified and for some abnormalities there are even treatments during your pregnancy. If there is no treatment during pregnancy, then your doctors will know and can help as soon as the baby is born.

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