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Full Fetal Survey – What You Need to Know

What You Need to Know

Ultrasound examinations are an important diagnostic test for women who are pregnant. They are commonly used to date a pregnancy, view the placenta, amniotic fluid, and rule out or confirm the presence of twins. Specifically, the Full Fetal Survey ultrasound scan provides an opportunity to look closely at your developing baby.

About the Procedure

By use of the sound waves transmitted throughout the uterine wall, an image of the baby is projected onto a screen. Through that image a maternal-fetal medicine specialist can examine fetal structure such as the heart, spine, and kidneys. Normal growth and development can be assessed through fetal measurements. It is also possible to view the placenta as well as evaluate the amount of amniotic fluid.

This procedure is generally performed around 18 weeks of pregnancy or during the second trimester. It is not considered a painful procedure; however, you may feel some discomfort due to a full bladder. The need for a full bladder will vary depending upon your gestational age and the person performing your ultrasound.

It is important to know that a normal ultrasound does not promise a healthy baby. There are many abnormalities that cannot be determined using ultrasound alone, including Down syndrome.

An ultrasound exam may be a part of your routine obstetrical care during your pregnancy or may be done if there is some clinical indication, such as having previously had a child with a specific birth defect.

There are currently no known fetal or maternal risks associated with ultrasound use in pregnancy.

In order to address the possibility of risk factors for your offspring, we recommend that you contact one of our genetic counselors to review any family history concerns, and whether or not it is appropriate for you to consider prenatal diagnosis. It is important to remember that there is no one test or combination of tests that will rule out the presence of all fetal birth defects, mental retardation or genetic disease. For more information, please call the Division of Genetics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at (617) 667-7110.

Contact Information

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
East Campus
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617-667-0475

Contact Information

Genetics-Ob/Gyn
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Shapiro 8
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617-667-7110