Level II Ultrasound
Nivin Todd, MD, FACOG
Who Gets the Test?
Many women get a level II ultrasound -- or targeted ultrasound. Some doctors suggest them for all pregnant women. Others use them to follow up if an earlier test result was unclear.
What the Test Does
A level II ultrasound is similar to a standard ultrasound. The difference is that your doctor will get more detailed information. Your doctor may focus on a specific part of your baby's body, such as his or her brain, heart, or other organs.
You may get a targeted ultrasound in your second trimester. It can help check your baby for some birth defects, such as Down syndrome.
How the Test Is Done
A level II ultrasound is just like a regular abdominal ultrasound. You'll lie down and a technician will put a special gel on your belly. This will help carry the sound waves. Then the technician will hold a probe against your belly and move it around to get an image. You may need to go into the test with a full bladder. This will make the test results more clear.
What to Know About Test Results
Your doctor will probably give you the results after the exam. A normal result should be reassuring. However, keep in mind that ultrasounds are not always accurate. They can't diagnose or rule out many problems.
If your doctor sees something of concern in an ultrasound, try not to worry. Many women with unusual ultrasounds go on to have healthy babies. Your doctor may suggest further ultrasounds or other tests.
How Often the Test Is Done During Your Pregnancy
Many women get a level II ultrasound at about 16 to 18 weeks.
Other Names for This Test
Targeted ultrasound, advanced ultrasound, level II sonogram, fetal anomaly scan
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