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is the most important development in obstetrics since the introduction of antibiotics.
Before ultrasound scans the practitioner's hands and tape measure were the
only ways to assess the size and position of the fetus.
is inaccurate whereas ultrasound is both safe and accurate.
It is now possible to examine the fetus for a range defects such as cleft
lip, skeletal dysplasias, major cardiac and renal and gut lesions.
NICE have issued guidance concerning timing of routine
ultrasound scans during pregnancy (1,2)
- gestational age assessment:
- pregnant women should be offered an early ultrasound scan between 10
weeks 0 days and 13 weeks 6 days to determine gestational age and to detect
multiple pregnancies. This will ensure consistency of gestational age
assessment and reduce the incidence of induction of labour for prolonged
- crown-rump length measurement should be used to determine gestational
- if the crown-rump length is above 84 mm, the gestational age should
be estimated using head circumference
- Screening for structural anomalies
- pregnant women should be offered an ultrasound scan to screen for structural
anomalies, ideally between 18 +0 and 20+6 weeks' gestation
For further information..
Last reviewed 01/2018