All the parents-to-be look forward to the ultrasound procedure as it allows you to peek into the wonderful world of your unborn baby. However, the real purpose of an ultrasound procedure is to monitor the growth of the baby and its progress during the gestation period. Level 2 ultrasound procedure is targeted at finding out the gestation age of the baby and to check if its growth is on target.
What is Level 2 Ultrasound
Level 2 ultrasound is also called anatomy scan as it involves measurement and survey of your baby's organs. It is a special ultrasound in which the baby is measured from head to rump, to check if the gestation age of the baby is normal. The functioning and development of the vital organs is also monitored during this ultrasound. The sex of the baby can also be determined during level 2 ultrasound during pregnancy. Hence, if you do not wish to know the sex of the baby, then let the ultrasound technician know that well in advance. The survey of the organs, the measurement of the umbilical cord, the amount of amniotic fluid etc., help the technician to find out the gestational age of the baby.
When is It Conducted
Level 2 ultrasound is conducted in the second trimester of pregnancy i.e between 18 to 22 weeks. Ideally, it is performed in the 20th week, but it can also be performed anytime during pregnancy. Every pregnant woman is advised to go for level 2 ultrasound, irrespective of her age or other conditions. Normally, women carrying twins are advised yet another detailed ultrasound.
How is Level 2 Ultrasound Performed
The pregnant woman is made to recline on an examination table with her belly exposed. The technician applies gel all over the abdomen and then moves the transducer on the belly. The transducer emits sound waves which penetrate the abdomen and bounce back when they collide with solid structures inside. These solid structures are nothing but the organs of the baby. This results in the formation of images on the video screen. The technician keeps on moving the transducer so as to get comprehensive pictures from several angles. Finally, the technician settles for one and freezes it. This is the final sonogram. It allows your practitioner to view the detailed anatomy of your baby. The entire procedure is completed within 30 - 40 minutes.
Level 2 ultrasound has immense importance. It is responsible for detecting certain developmental, as well as genetic disorders in the baby. Down syndrome, trisomy 18, trisomy 13 are among these disorders. Level 2 ultrasound is often recommended, when the first ultrasound detects certain abnormalities in the fetus. The level 2, in such cases has to be very targeted. It focuses on specific markers based on the findings of the first ultrasound. Often, a meeting with a genetic expert is scheduled before the level 2 ultrasound, so as to let the parents-to-be know what the ultrasound will be targeted at.
There are no significant side effects of ultrasound at any stage. However, medical community cautions against unnecessary exposure to ultrasound. This is why, your practitioner may schedule only a couple of ultrasound procedures throughout your pregnancy.
Depending upon the findings of level 2 ultrasound during pregnancy, the course of treatment is decided. If some abnormalities are found, then they can be rectified with the help of medication, in the early stage only. Hence, it is imperative to do it for better prenatal care.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for information purpose only. Do not use the information presented herein as a substitute for medical practitioner's advice.