Pregnancy doesn’t seem to be real between food cravings and constant nausea until you have a sneak peek of your baby during your first ultrasound. The first ultrasound holds a special and significant part in your pregnancy journey – where you see your baby for the first time. An ultrasound or a sonogram is a part of prenatal care for pregnant women, performed to see how your baby is growing and developing. Please scroll down to learn its importance and how to prepare for an pregnancy ultrasound.
What is an Ultrasound?
Ultrasound is a medical procedure that utilizes high-energy sound waves to observe the tissues and organs inside the body. A pregnancy ultrasound will show the fetus’s development in two dimensions. Medical professionals emit sound waves and create an image of the fetus’ body parts on the ultrasound screen.
The process allows the healthcare professionals to analyze the health of and identify any issues in the growing fetus early in pregnancy. At the end of the ultrasound pregnancy are beneficial in checking the length of the cervix and verifying the baby’s position before labor.
When Do You Get an Ultrasound?
Most pregnant women will be advised to get an ultrasound scan in their second trimester, between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. Some may also get their first scan during their first trimester, known as early ultrasound, before 14 weeks of pregnancy. The NHS (National Health Service) also recommends that pregnant women get at least two ultrasound scans throughout the pregnancy.
At any stage, if you have any suspicious symptoms or concerns regarding the health and development of your baby, you can consult your doctor and get an ultrasound, if necessary. In a nutshell, the total number of ultrasounds and the period for the scan may vary depending on your health condition.
How You Should Prepare For a Pregnancy Ultrasound
If you are a new mom-to-be, your doctor will tell you how to best prepare for the pregnancy ultrasound scan. However, it is usually suggested to have a full bladder for the scan besides following specific instructions from your doctor or sonographer. You must empty your bladder 90 minutes before the ultrasound and consume eight ounces of water or another choice of liquid one hour before the process. This is because having a full bladder during the examination will give you a clear picture of the baby and its body parts and movements.
Also, it’s good to wear loose clothes if you are unsure of the type of ultrasound. You can also ask your concerns or questions regarding the preparation for the scan before the procedure to the respective professionals.
What to Expect From a Pregnancy Ultrasound?
The process will typically take around 20 to 30 minutes to complete, depending on the type of ultrasound. Then, the doctor or technologist will provide you with pictures of the ultrasound or sonogram of your baby.
A expect from ultrasound pregnancy is a non-invasive medical examination that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the inside of a woman’s uterus. Expectant mothers typically have multiple ultrasound examinations throughout their pregnancy to monitor the growth and development of the fetus. The first ultrasound is usually performed between 8-14 weeks of pregnancy and is known as a dating scan, the goal is to confirm the due date, check the number of fetuses and identify any major structural anomalies.
Other ultrasound exams may be done later in pregnancy to check the position of the placenta, measure the amount of amniotic fluid, and assess the growth and development of the fetus. The procedure is typically painless, safe and has no side-effects. The expectant mother can also see the image of her fetus and often hear the heartbeat as well.
Types of Ultrasound
- Transvaginal Ultrasound
If your ultrasound is scheduled before week 6 or 7 of pregnancy, your gynecologist will perform a transvaginal ultrasound. A small transducer wrapper in a sterile cover will be inserted into the vagina. The movement of the ward in the cavity will scan the uterus. You might feel some pressure, but it will be painless. When the transducer emits sound waves, it will produce an image on the video screen.
- Transabdominal Ultrasound
A gynecologist will perform an pregnancy ultrasound after weeks 6 or 7. During the process, you will be instructed to lie on your back, and the healthcare professional will apply a cold latex gel to your lower abdomen. The gel will help the transducer to slide easily across the abdominal region while looking for the fetus from various angles for better analysis. This process won’t hurt but can be uncomfortable if the doctor presses hard on the abdominal part to view any specific part of the fetus more clearly since you will have a full bladder.
Ultrasound a Safe Procedure?
When performed by professional healthcare providers, ultrasound is safe for you and the fetus. Unlike the radiation emitted by X-rays, ultrasound uses sound waves. Hence, it doesn’t have any associated risks. However, there might be a few common issues that can happen during the ultrasound examination, like the following.
- Slight discomfort occurs due to the movement of the transducer on your abdomen or vagina.
- A sudden reaction to the cold gel if you have a medical history of sensitivity to latex gel.
Pregnancy ultrasound is a fascinating and fantastic way to glimpse your bundle of joy and a crucial diagnostic process to track your pregnancy and fetal health.
At CDNcare, we ensure a safe and accessible ultrasound providing you with more information about your pregnancy and unborn baby. Besides suggesting critical interventions, our services help you create a delivery plan and assure long-term management of your baby’s health.