Morphological ultrasound: when is it done, what is it for, and why is it important?
The morphological ultrasound is one of the prenatal tests that a pregnant woman must undergo. It is used to check the health of the unborn child during gestation, and it is the most important ultrasound scan among the three normally prescribed, because it helps to identify any malformations. This ultrasound is called morphological for this very reason: it investigates and illustrates the shape of the fetus, to understand if everything is proceeding according to the norm in the formation of the child's body. When is it done? And how does it take place? What is the cost? Your answers are all here ...
Before proceeding, here is a video that suggests all the things that should be avoided while pregnant.
Morphological ultrasound: when is it done?
The morphological ultrasound is the second of the three pregnancy ultrasounds prescribed by the gynecologist. It is done between the 20th and 22nd week to ascertain the presence of any malformations. During that period the fetus is in the most appropriate conditions to be studied, given that the relationship between the size of the fetus and the amount of amniotic fluid is optimal.
It must also be remembered that after this period it is no longer possible to resort to voluntary abortion by law.
Through a high quality ultrasound system and the great experience of an operator it is possible to reach 90% certainty that the fetus is healthy, moreover the ultrasound allows you to check the exact relationship between amniotic fluid and the size of the fetus and if there were any malformations there you can turn to suitable structures. The examination is performed in this way: the expectant mother's abdomen is sprinkled with gel, and a probe is passed over it. The equipment used is now equipped with a three-dimensional display, and advances in technology have also paved the way for 3D ultrasound, often preferred to the traditional one because it is more "effective", as well as more effective in detecting any anomalies. necessary, to complete the examination, transvaginal ultrasound is also used.
Transvaginal ultrasound: what it is and when it is needed
3D ultrasound: how much does it cost and when is it done?
Pregrafismo: what it is and why it is important for children
Ultrasound during pregnancy: the video that explains everything
How many ultrasound scans are there during pregnancy? When are they done? In this video, Dr. Alessia De Mita explains everything there is to know. Do not forget, as regards prenatal analyzes, the CVS, which is an invasive but very early examination, to identify any chromosomal or genetic diseases in the fetus.
What do you see?
The protocol of the second level examinations (morphological ultrasound) intervenes in a complete examination of the morphology of the fetus and allows the verification of all the anatomical details currently investigable by means of ultrasound. It includes the evaluations of the dimensions of the fetus (fetal biometry), the structure of the placenta, the amount of amniotic fluid, the study of the skull and face, the cardiovascular system, the abdominal organs, the extremities (including fingers), the spine, the bladder, the liver. the morphological ultrasound can be established with almost absolute certainty the sex of the child.
What is the purpose of morphological ultrasound?
In addition to identifying any malformations in the fetus, morphological ultrasound also serves to prevent or counter the appearance of dangerous diseases, such as gestosis. It also helps to monitor the condition of IUGR (poor intrauterine growth of the fetus). Let's see these two hypotheses in detail. .
Gestosis, or preeclampsia, is a serious disease that affects pregnant women and whose triggering causes are still partly unknown, and which can worsen into the so-called Hellp syndrome. Intrauterine growth retardation, on the other hand, can have various causes, such as a malfunction of the placenta or resistance to the uterine arteries. A Doppler velocimetry of the uterine arteries can be associated with the morphological examination of the fetus. The two arteries, located on the sides of the woman's groin, perform the onerous task of supplying the placenta and ensuring its correct functioning. monitor the growth of the fetus as much as to be able to intervene in time with appropriate pharmacological therapies or even, anticipating the date of birth where there is a need.
What is the cost of the ultrasound?
The morphological ultrasound is free if it is performed in public facilities, while it has a variable cost if you choose a private facility. The cost in private facilities ranges more or less from 90 to 200 euros, depending on the place you have chosen.
Any difficulties during the morphological ultrasound
The specialist may find difficulties during the ultrasound because of the patient's fatty tissue, which does not make the images clear, or because of too much amniotic fluid or because of the position of the fetus. The morphological ultrasound of the second trimester does not have the task of identifying any soft markers of the chromosomal anomaly. The soft markers are those signals, those clues that are often associated with children with Down syndrome, to recognize it in the prenatal phase. Often, however, these soft markers are also associated with children not suffering from any syndrome, and if there is a suspicion of Down syndrome in the fetus, other tests and investigations are carried out, including for example amniocentesis, which is often performed even before the morphological ultrasound.
And in case of a problem?
In the event that, during the morphological ultrasound, anomalies or malformations are found, the future parents are directed to carry out more in-depth and specific examinations (amniocentesis, 2nd level ultrasound, genetic tests ...) .. ., aimed at confirming or excluding the existence of specific syndromes. In fact, chromosomal and genetic diseases often escape the normal screening tests, but manifest themselves during the growth of the fetus through more or less serious malformations. The morphological ultrasound and any subsequent examinations are therefore necessary to evaluate the existence (or not) of anomalies and arrive at a correct diagnosis.
The growth of the baby in the womb is an extraordinary event. In this video you can see in just one minute the development of the fetus, from the moment of conception to that of delivery!
For more useful information on morphological ultrasound, you can visit the Humanitas website.