Your doctor may send you to see a maternal-fetal medicine specialist for “a level II,” a “detailed,” or a “targeted” ultrasound even if they have already looked at your baby with ultrasound in their office. An ultrasound in one of our offices allows our doctors, who have had several additional years of training in ultrasound compared to general OB/GYNS, to use state-of-the-art equipment to look in more detail at your baby’s body, evaluate your baby’s growth, and assess the placenta and your uterus. This is not a 3-D or 4-D ultrasound, which are often used for keepsake pictures rather than for diagnostic purposes.
In high-risk pregnancies, additional testing is often used during the third trimester to evaluate your baby’s health. Fetal well-being can be assessed in several ways. In addition to maternal perception of fetal movement (“kick counts”), fetal health can also be evaluated by studying the baby’s heart rate tracing (non-stress test), using ultrasound to observe the baby’s movements , tone and amniotic fluid levels (biophysical profile (BPP)), and evaluating the blood flow in the umbilical cord and/or your baby’s brain with ultrasound Doppler studies. The clinical situation will guide when testing should begin and how often it should occur.