What to know about your second trimester ultrasound

by Kaiser Permanente |

As you approach the halfway mark of your pregnancy, it’s likely you’ll have a second trimester fetal ultrasound. Also called an anatomy scan, this procedure let clinicians see inside your uterus and make sure your baby is developing normally.

Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images. After applying a thin layer of gel, an ultrasound technician gently presses a handheld device called a transducer against your belly. They will move it around a bit to get a better view of your baby. You’ll be able to see the images it produces during the procedure.

An ultrasound or anatomy scan is performed for several reasons:

  • To screen for major birth defects, such as heart problems
  • To assess the baby's growth at this time
  • To get a view of your baby, the placenta, and the amniotic fluid surrounding your baby

Although the scan can detect certain conditions, it can’t identify everything. Your clinician will review the results of your anatomy scan with you through email or at your next appointment. They will advise you if further testing is recommended.

Your partner or support person should be able to come with you to most ultrasound appointments. This gives you both a chance to see the baby. In many cases, you’ll also be able to determine which sex your baby is, if you want to know. You should confirm with your care team whether there are any visitor restrictions.

This article has been created by a national group of Kaiser Permanente ob-gyns, certified nurse-midwives, pediatricians, lactation consultants and other specialists who came together to provide you with the best pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and newborn information.

Some of the content is used and adapted with permission of The Permanente Medical Group.