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What's a Level 2 Ultrasound?

by The Stir Bloggers on March 2, 2009 at 12:15 PM

level 2 ultrasound

Photo by bam61907

As first-time mamas, we encounter all sorts of lingo and procedures we've never heard of before. (The next time around, if you go for it, it's all so much easier!)

I was definitely intimidated by all of the info and tests. So I could totally relate when I read Shana11787's post in Pregnancy asking if anybody knew what a level 2 ultrasound was.

From the preggo experts at What to Expect, here's the deal:

Most pregnant women will have a level 2 sonogram at some point in their pregnancy. Basically, it's a more detailed ultrasound (also called an anatomy scan) and it can help your doc see how your baby is developing and if there are any problems.

What differentiates the sonograms -- a level 1 from a level 2 -- is the amount of detail. A level 1 sonogram is often used before 12 weeks, to help a practitioner date a pregnancy.

The more detailed level 2 sono is typically performed between 18 - 22 weeks and can help determine a number of things, including the size of the fetus, how your baby's organs are forming, the amount of amniotic fluid, any cervical changes that might indicate the possibility of preterm labor, and if baby cooperates, the sex.

Talk to your doctor about any upcoming ultrasounds you have and what he's looking for.

Have you had your standard second trimester level 2 sonogram yet? What was it like? How long did it take?

Filed Under: tests & procedures


  • Tanya...


    March 2, 2009 at 1:07 PM

    The ACOG does not even recommend routine U/S. Level 2's should only be used if a Level 1 has indicated a problem that needs to be looked into further. I for one, will not be receiving ANY U/S in my next pregnancy, unless I have reason to believe there is a problem. U/S have not been proven safe and it is not a worthwhile risk to me, as problems are so rare, I wouldn't abort if there was a problem, there have been many cases of false positives for problems, etc. I wouldn't be opposed to a woman choosing to have a level 1 20-week U/S, especially if she is planning a OOH birth, but it is just not for me.

  • RanaA...


    March 2, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    I appreciate both routine ultrasounds that are traditionally done.  Ultrasounds, while not proven to be safe, have also never proven to be dangerous either.  Problems aren't nearly as rare as you'd think, and I personally am more comfortable having it done than not.

  • emslala


    March 2, 2009 at 2:40 PM

    I had a level 2 U/S done late (27 wks) because I kept forgetting to schedule it (oops, haha). The main reason we did it is because my DH was born with spina bifida occulta. It wouldn't have made a difference either way, but it would have let us know what to expect & would also have allowed us to emotionally prepare. We did NOT want to know the gender though  :)
    I didn't bother to get the AFP test though- it was reccommended by the midwives I went to (IDK why either). That has an alarmingly high false positive rate, and IMO, is unneccessary- *especially* if you are having a diagnostic U/S anyway.

  • krist...


    March 2, 2009 at 3:25 PM

    I had all the normal u/s's done..I liked knowing how much the baby was growing, that everything was developing correctly, etc.. having miscarried twice when I was younger those things were important to me.

    With the next one I will be having the same u/s's done.. plus a fetal heart echo to rule out the CHD that my daughter was born with. We didn't know about it until 2 months after she was born.

  • SxdUp...


    March 2, 2009 at 5:58 PM

    I had it routinely with my son but if nothing had been wrong with him I'm not sure my insurance would be covering it for this pregnancy.  I am grateful for them.  Not only do you get to see your baby (something most of us want to do) but you are informed of how well baby is doing.  Not all problems are visible with "routine" Level 2 u/s but it does help.  It took about 15 minutes with my son and I loved every minute of it. 

  • Eliza...
    -- Nonmember comment from


    October 9, 2012 at 1:13 PM
    I am 27 years old and currently 22 wks pregnant with my first, expecting a girl in feb 2013 and just found out that I have a high risk pregnancy and that even though the tests don't show that my baby has Down syndrome doctor would like me to have further tests done like the level 2 ultrasound. Doctor told me not to worry about it bc most likely my baby will be born healthy but I do worry and even if my baby does have DS I would still love her the same no matter what but should I get the test done anyway? Has any mothers been told this and had a healthy baby?
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