All pregnant patients will have an “anatomy” ultrasound performed between 18-20 weeks of their pregnancy. This is a detailed ultrasound that looks at structures in the head, heart, spine, extremities and other organ systems. Whether it is a girl or a boy can usually be determined during this ultrasound as well. This ultrasound is usually not done before 18 weeks because not all body structures can be seen until that time.
Other ultrasounds may be performed during the pregnancy. An early ultrasound may be performed if there are certain medical problems affecting the mother or if there is uncertainty in how far along a pregnancy may be. Ultrasounds may be performed later in pregnancy if the pregnancy is considered to be high risk or if there is concern about the growth of the baby. Some of these high risk conditions include twin pregnancy, high blood pressure or diabetes.
For insurance purposes, there must be a medical reason for the ultrasound. Having an ultrasound just because you want to see your baby is not considered medically necessary and would not be covered by your insurance. Our office does offer an optional Keepsake Ultrasound between 28 and 32 weeks for that purpose but it is not covered by insurance. You can speak with our front office staff about scheduling this ultrasound.
So, to answer the questions specifically… You will get an ultrasound between approximately 18-20 weeks. Typically this is the only ultrasound you will have as long as you are considered low risk but there are numerous conditions affecting the mother or baby that may require earlier or later ultrasounds. I suspect your friend had something occurring in her pregnancy that made her doctors want to monitor her more closely with ultrasounds.