Level 2 ultrasound or anatomy scan is recommended to almost every pregnant woman. Here is what to expect at a level 2 ultrasound.
Ultrasound is an advanced technique of medical diagnosis that uses computer generated images. It plays an important role during pregnancy as it is a highly effective medium of monitoring fetal growth and detecting any abnormalities. During pregnancy, an ultrasound is recommended at various stages. However, level 2 ultrasound is of particular importance as it performs a complete anatomical scan and detects any potential developmental issues. It is quite different from level 1 ultrasound, in a sense that it is more detailed in nature.
Level 2 Ultrasound Procedure
This procedure is recommended to almost every pregnant woman. It is performed in the second trimester, anywhere between 18 to 22 weeks. However, the most preferred time for performing this procedure is 20th week. Level 1 ultrasound procedure is performed very early during the pregnancy. Hence, it is not possible to detect any developmental issues, as most vital organs are yet to be developed. However, a level 2 ultrasound is more detailed and comprehensive in nature. It is targeted at particular markers based on findings of the first ultrasound.
This procedure is done on an outpatient basis, or in any sonographer’s private office. During the examination, the woman is made to lie on a recliner, with her belly exposed. An ultrasound gel is applied all over the belly. The ultrasound technician then moves the transducer over the abdominal area. Images are generated on the computer screen. The technician may keep moving the transducer until he finds the most accurate and detailed images. He freezes the most suitable images, which is a final sonogram.
What to Expect at a Level 2 Ultrasound
Women who are asked to undergo level 2 ultrasound often wonder if there is anything wrong with their baby. However, one must understand that this is a routine test for all pregnant women, and you are not being asked to go for it because there is something wrong with your baby. Nonetheless, there are certain circumstances which warrant the need for an advanced level ultrasound.
When the age of mother is 35 or more, her chances of carrying a baby with birth defects are slightly elevated. In that case, it is better to keep a close eye on the development of baby. Similarly, if there are any incidences of genetic disorders in your family, your doctor might not want to take any chances. In that case, she may invariably ask you to go for a level 2 ultrasound.
Another scenario which may trigger the need for a level 2 ultrasound is an abnormal result of level 1 ultrasound. If level 1 ultrasound captures something which appears to be out of order, then your doctor may want to investigate further, using a level 2 ultrasound. In this ultrasound procedure, baby is measured from crown to rump. Besides, the ultrasound also surveys vital organs of a baby, which have developed by this time.
The level of amniotic fluid, the length of umbilical cord etc., are some other factors which are studied during this procedure. It also monitors the changes in cervix in order to detect the possibility of a preterm labor. Down’s syndrome, trisomy 18, trisomy 13, heart defects are detected during this ultrasound. In a rare possibility of a genetic disorder, a meeting with a genetics expert is scheduled so that the couple are well prepared for their baby’s special needs.
More often than not, a level 2 ultrasound reveals a normal result. Hence, you can relax and stop stressing yourself. Remember, a healthy mind and a healthy body is what you need at this stage.