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Second trimester ultrasound

In your second trimester, you'll have another ultrasound. Here's what you'll see and learn about your baby's development.

What you'll learn in

the second ultrasound

With your first ultrasound complete, you now know what the process of getting an ultrasound is like, and your doctor was able to establish your due date. But your second trimester ultrasound will tell you some new things about your baby's development. To know what this ultrasound appointment will reveal about your pregnancy, read on.

A clearer look at your baby

The second ultrasound will take place when you are 18 to 22 weeks along in your pregnancy. This ultrasound will be even more exciting than the first one was, as you'll be able to make out the baby's head and limbs clearly. You'll be able to hear the heartbeat too, and the doctor will be able to point out anything you find hard to discern yourself when looking at the sonogram.

The doctor will check the baby's development, such as if the spine is developing properly and is covered by skin; if the baby has cleft lip; the shape of the baby's head; the baby's heart in terms of its valves and chambers; and if the stomach and kidneys are functioning as they should.

A look at your placenta and more

The doctor will check to see where the placenta is lying in your uterus. Your placenta may be lying low, or it may be tundal (near the top of your uterus). He or she will also check the umbilical cord and whether enough amniotic fluid is surrounding your baby so that they can move as they need to.

Your baby's sex

If you wish to know the sex of your baby before giving birth, you can find out during this second ultrasound. You can also get a photo of the ultrasound, so make room for it on your fridge!

Your baby's size in relation to your due date

The doctor will take a few measurements, such as the head circumference, abdominal circumference and thigh bones, and these measurements will be compared to what they should be for your expected due date to confirm your baby's development is on track.

An examination for any defects or abnormalities

With this ultrasound, it's possible for the doctor to look for any abnormalities in your baby's development. These include spina bifida, kidney issues, abdominal wall issues, heart problems (such as missing chamber walls) and more.

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