When Do They Stop Doing Internal Ultrasounds? (0-22 Weeks)

The last internal ultrasound takes place at 20 or 22 weeks of pregnancy, commonly referred to as the last trimester. Afterwards, doctor stops doing internal ultrasound. At this stage of pregnancy, the doctor can determine the sex of your baby.

If you are an elderly expectant mother, the doctors can determine if you have a congenital anomaly. Internal ultrasounds reveal concerns most parents want to know in advance. For example, if the baby’s delivery or aftercare will be complex.

Why does internal ultrasound stop?

There are many reasons for doing internal ultrasounds. The most important is that the doctor checks the placenta and baby’s heartbeat to rule out complications like ectopic pregnancy

Va*ginal ultrasounds offer detailed information concerning the growth of the baby. Most expectant mothers get at least one va*ginal ultrasound between 12-22 weeks. It helps reveal a congenital disability or abnormal fetal development, among other issues like uterus, placenta, or amniotic fluid problem. 

An internal ultrasound or transva*ginal ultrasound is placed inside the va*ginal to examine the shape of the uterus. It’s mostly used when a pregnant woman is obese, and medical professionals have trouble getting a clear pregnancy photo using transabdominal ultrasound.

When do they stop doing internal ultrasounds in the second trimester?

You can have a last internal ultrasound at the beginning of your second trimester because the baby is old enough to determine if there is a high-risk situation.

For example, if you are having twins or have a placenta previa. Both situations have risks to the mother and babies. If there is nothing abnormal in the second trimester, the chances of complications are minimal.

For instance, having a placenta previa can result in significant maternal hemorrhage.

Maternal hemorrhage is the leading cause of preventable maternal death worldwide and encompasses antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum bleeding.

Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20007990/

It certainly changes your birth options to a hospital instead of a home birth or birth center.

Big movements like baby kicks are visible in the second trimester. Also, you get to know if they have hiccups in the womb.  

When and why get a va*ginal ultrasound during pregnancy?

An internal ultrasound is an important diagnostic tool. Early pregnancy always feels unreal, and it’s hard to know if the fetus is there because there is no early movement yet. 

You are advised to go for a transva*ginal ultrasound if you have unexplained bleeding in your va*gina, pelvic pain, uterine fibroid, and improperly placed IUD.

The first ultrasound is always momentous because it’s the moment of truth and provides visual proof of pregnancy. 

However, it isn’t easy to know what to expect from your prenatal ultrasound. During the first va*ginal ultrasound in your first trimester, the health care professional records heartbeat, fetus movement, and the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby.

At what month do they do an ultrasound

Ultrasound conducts by the doctor at the first trimester of a pregnancy. It is not a must to run the ultrasound at the first week of pregnancy unless, the doctor might want to reveal something important from it.

Normally, doctors do ultrasound at 5weeks or the fifth day on 6 weeks during pregnancy to see the Yolk sac and gestational sac.

The prediction of gender or sex is another reason to run ultrasound at that pregnancy timeline.

12-14 weeks of pregnancy

It’s your first internal ultrasound, and crucial to know your due date and if you have multiple pregnancies. An early ultrasound also tells if you have an ectopic pregnancy or uterus. Also, it helps health care specialists know the basic anatomy of the baby.

The doctor can tell if your baby has two brain hemispheres, limbs, eyes, a bladder,  spine, and lungs, and the heart has four chambers. They can test for rare conditions like chromosome abnormalities and down syndrome. 

18-20 weeks of pregnancy 

The transva*ginal ultrasound is more conclusive as the organs are fully formed. The doctor can check for heart defects and count the toes and fingers. Also, it’s easy to monitor growth. They check the placentation, like if it’s low in the uterus or is covering your cervix.

If the position remains unchanged in later ultrasound, you may need a C-section because it prevents normal delivery.

If your previous birth were via C-section, the doctor would check if the placenta is in the scar from the previous uterus surgery, which means you deliver through another C-section.

22 weeks of pregnancy

It’s aimed at monitoring the baby’s size if there is too little or too much growth. It happens in cases of High blood pressure or gestational diabetes. Doctors conduct a 22-week internal ultrasound if your medical history suggests preterm birth. The transva*ginal ultrasound measures your cervix for early warnings of premature labor.

Why do doctors recommend internal ultrasound during pregnancy?

Ultrasound is a vital diagnostic tool that doctors use to monitor the developing fetus and offer possible actions to protect the mother and the baby. The exam takes about 45 minutes. However, it can take a short time to know what it’s all about. 

For instance, if the doctor checks the fetus’s heartbeat, it only takes a moment. However, if it’s about fibroids or other complex conditions, it takes time. Doctors recommend va*ginal ultrasound for the following reasons.

  • To check your uterine lining 
  • To monitor the fetal heartbeat
  • To examine your cervix for possible risks such as miscarriage and premature delivery.
  • To check if there are any placental abnormalities
  • To identify the source and cause of abnormal bleeding
  • To confirm early pregnancy
  • To diagnose a miscarriage 

When do I know the results of transva*ginal ultrasound?

You get the results immediately. The va*ginal ultrasound helps diagnose several conditions such as:

  • Reproductive organ cancer
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Routine pregnancy monitoring
  • Fibroids
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Presence of a pelvic infection
  • Placenta preview
  • Miscarriage

Discuss the results with your doctor and schedule appropriate treatment. Transva*ginal ultrasound enables medical professionals to make an accurate diagnosis of a condition and determine appropriate care and treatment to lower the risks of preterm labor and prevent serious complications. 

How is a transva*ginal ultrasound done?

The physical exam is done in a consultation room clinic or a hospital setting by a sonographer or doctor. The medical professionals use a special probe. 

The doctor may advise you to empty your bladder before the exam and take out your tampon if you have one. 

Always wear loose clothes, or you will change into a paper dress, then lie back on the examination table with knees bent. Occasionally you will slightly raise your hips.

The sonographer/ doctor applies a lubricating gel on the sheath of the special probe then inserts it to about 5-8cm in the va*gina. It’s slightly uncomfortable but doesn’t hurt. 

The doctor moves the probe to get a better view of possible problems.  The process takes at most 45 minutes.

You can always request the presence of a female health professional if the sonographer or doctor is a man. It helps make you comfortable. Some people go with a family member. You can resume your normal routine or activities afterward as the physical exam has no after-effects. You can drive and do other things without any problems.

Let the sonographer know if you have a latex allergy to ensure they use latex-free sheath on the special probe.

Are internal ultrasounds safe?

Yes. This is a safe technology that reveals a lot in pregnancy.  There are no risks of congenital disabilities, congenital disabilities, or internal ultrasounds. 

Misconceptions concerning the ultrasound cause child cancer and developmental problems, untrue.

The FDA recommends that people avoid home ultrasounds as only experienced sonographers can operate the ultrasound machines safely. 

Final words

Although internal ultrasound is slightly invasive, it has no risks, and the process is not painful. Besides, the exam is useful in the early diagnosis of certain medical conditions and providing vital details about your pregnancy. You can always preserve the photos of your early pregnancy or little ones.

Sarah, a health writer and editor since 2014, is an adoring wife and dedicated mother to 2 daughters and 1 son. As the creator of Babies Plannet, she combines her extensive expertise with her maternal dedication to provide essential care and safety advice for infants, nurturing their well-being and happiness. Her writing explores topics like fitness, pregnancy, and women's healthy lifestyles.

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