A pregnancy ultrasound or sonogram is a method where sound waves are used to build a picture of the baby before being born. It is considered the standard procedure to view various parts of the baby, as well as follow its development in the womb.
Sonographers or doctors will utilize ultrasound to help identify the health or condition of the baby.
The experts at NuWave Women’s Health provide various pregnancy services in Pembroke Pines and will ensure that your first pregnancy ultrasound is one service that is enjoyable and as stress-free as possible.
What To Expect During a Pregnancy Ultrasound?
Prior to going to your first pregnancy ultrasound, here are some pieces of information that might be useful. As mentioned, professional staff carry out the sonograms, and the check-up takes place in a dimmed room in order to get high-quality images of the infant. The patient lies on their back with a revealed stomach.
A special gel for this type of scan is used, and it ensures that the contact between the machine and the skin of the patient is adequate. The doctor or nurse goes over the stomach with a handheld probe, and an image of the baby appears on the screen in front of the patient. There is a possibility of applying slight pressure to the stomach to be able to get a clearer picture of the infant and do a proper examination.
It is essential that the person performing the check-up also has a very clear image of the baby in front of them.
The ultrasound scan does not take longer than 20 to 30 minutes unless the baby is moving to a great extent or is laying in a strange position. If this is the case, then the check-up can last longer.
Aside from the baby’s health condition, the scan can show you:
- how big your baby is so that you can prepare for the timing of their arrival
- the position of the baby in the womb, to prepare you for the birthing process
- the number of babies you will have
- the rhythm of the heartbeat of the baby
- the development of the organs and bones of the baby
As mentioned above, these ultrasound scans are safe for both the mother and the baby. The only potentially challenging part is the information given during the check-up, which is not always positive and can be stressful. Sometimes the ultrasound demands a further in-depth examination for both the child and the mother.
Pregnancy Ultrasound 101
If you are wondering when you should get your first ultrasound during pregnancy and what to do before and during the check-up, continue reading this blog post because it will help you better prepare.
When Do You Get Your First Ultrasound?
During your pregnancy, it is recommended to get at least two ultrasound scans:
-The early pregnancy scan before the 14th week
-The mid-pregnancy scan between the 18th and 21st week
During the first scan, the sonographer determines when the baby might be due based on the its dimensions. This is also called the dating scan. Another test can be performed at this stage called the nuchal translucency test. This test can help determine whether the baby will have Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome, or Patau’s syndrome and allow the parent to prepare in advance for the particularities of each one of these conditions.
The second scan is called the fetal anomaly scan, and it is used to check for various physical conditions in the infant, so the sonographer examines the bones, heart, brain, kidneys, abdomen, face, and spinal cord of the baby.
Some of the results may be delivered after the images have been reviewed by the specialist or radiologist
Some conditions can be seen on a pregnancy ultrasound, while some others are either very hard to detect (some heart defects) or are not detectable at all. With this in mind, there are some people who do not want to carry out the mid-pregnancy scan and do not want to find out whether their infant has a condition or not.
It is your choice to have the scan or not, although specialists highly recommend doing so to be able to physically and mentally prepare for potential challenges.
- Before a pregnancy ultrasound scan:
Drink some water (about half of a liter) one hour before the first scan because this helps the medical professional see your baby more clearly.
Drink a glass or two before your second ultrasound because this will also help see the baby much more clearly, but it is not obligatory.
- During a pregnancy ultrasound scan:
The gel might be a little cold at the beginning, so prepare yourself
Sometimes some pressure is applied to see the picture in a clearer way
You will be able to see parts of the infant’s body on the screen
But Can I Trust the Ultrasound?
Almost all medical professionals and information sources will point out that the pregnancy ultrasound is not 100 percent accurate. When it comes to determining the due date, the margin of error is around 1,5 weeks.
When diagnosing ectopic pregnancy, doctors may order additional labs to differentiate it from a viable early pregnancy or miscarriage.
Congenital disabilities are something that the pregnancy ultrasound can assist in diagnosing, but a patient may need an additional procedure to obtain more information. When it comes to learning the sex of the baby, the sonogram can give you a good prediction at the midpoint of the pregnancy, but bear in mind – this information may be affected by the position of the baby.
If any of your questions are still left unanswered, or you need additional reassurance, please do not hesitate to contact us! We are here, ready to answer any questions still lingering in your mind prior to scheduling your first pregnancy ultrasound.
We have a team of equipped experts and specialists who will make the experience of your sonograms enjoyable and pressure-free. We look forward to hearing from you!