Learning Resources

2D ultrasound and its clinical application

What is a 2D ultrasound?

A 2D ultrasound is the standard procedure used during obstetric ultrasound. It is the one used to produce 2 dimensional images of what is happening inside the mothers and baby’s body. Generally, all pregnancy ultrasounds are still done using 2D technology. A baby’s gestation, growth, heartbeat, development and size can all be seen clearly using 2D ultrasound. The position of the placenta, cord and lie/position of the baby can also be clearly seen.

The images from a 2d ultrasound tend to be in black and white and have the same level of detail as a photographic negative. Depending on how the baby is lying and their position in the uterus, different images will be seen.

It really is a matter of luck if the baby is awake and active or having a little sleep when the ultrasound is being done. Some mothers choose to have a sweet or cold drink before the procedure or “poke” their tummy in an effort to stimulate their baby. Sometimes the images are very clear and it’s easy for parents to interpret the ultrasound images. At other times, this can be a little more difficult. But don’t worry; the sonographer can point out specific organs, features and details of the baby if you’re not sure. They can also freeze frame the images, take photos and label different body parts on the screen. With a little explanation, it can all be come a lot clearer!

 

Application of 2D Ultrasound in Medicine?

At any stage during pregnancy. Some health care practitioners recommend 2D ultrasound very early in gestation to:

  • Diagnose a pregnancy.
  • Determine if one or more embryos are present.
  • Check where the placenta is lying, especially in relation to the mother’s cervix.
  • Determine if there are any physical abnormalities or birth defects.
  • Estimate the period of gestation.

 

When to perform 2D ultrasound screening?

Between 18-20 weeks of pregnancy. This is the scan which parents tend to look forward to and for many, this is the first time they have seen their baby so clearly. This is also the scan which is designed to check that all is well with the baby and they are developing and growing normally week by week.

If parents wish to know the sex (gender) of their baby, then it is usually clear by this stage of gestation. You may be able to take home a record of the scan, so ask if you can bring along a USB or disc for the sonographer to burn a copy onto.

Do what you can to organise your partner to be with you and request an appointment date which is mutually suitable. If, by some chance any concerns come up, it will help if you have a support person such as your partner with you.

 

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