Your First Ultrasound
When you find out you’re pregnant, there are so many thoughts going through your mind. You’re hit with a rush of emotions—hope, doubts, nerves, and excitement all at once. Seeing your little one for the first time, even if it’s just through a computer screen, can be similarly exciting and nerve-wracking. Knowing what to expect can help put those nerves to rest and allow you to appreciate the moment.
How Does an Ultrasound Work?
Even if you’ve never seen it done, you’re probably familiar with the word and know it’s a way to check up on your baby. High-frequency sound waves help to display images of your baby’s soft tissues and organs. These sound waves travel into the uterus and bounce back as vibrations. These bounces are transformed into electrical signals as images and displayed on a monitor.
When Will I Get An Ultrasound?
The exact week that you get your ultrasound can vary depending on multiple factors. A high-risk pregnancy, such as someone with a history of miscarriages, will likely have an ultrasound between 6-8 weeks. A transvaginal ultrasound is performed during weeks 6 – 9. After week 9, an abdominal ultrasound can be done. If you don’t have a first-trimester screening, an anatomical survey occurs between weeks 18 and 20.
What is the Purpose of an Ultrasound?
- Checking Up on Baby’s Development
The ultrasound is a way for doctors to ensure that both you and the baby progress healthily throughout the pregnancy. The baby’s crown-rump length measures their length from head to bum. They also take images of the brain, kidneys, heart, limbs, and more.
- Determining the Gender
If you desire, you may also have the opportunity to see the gender of your baby. If your ultrasound is around week 20, the doctors can accurately determine the sex of your child. If you want it to be a secret, make sure to talk to staff beforehand.
- Finding Out the Due Date
Getting the due date is an essential step in preparing for your pregnancy. Your doctor can determine the date of conception and develop a plan for your pregnancy care going forward.
- Getting to Know Your Doctor
If this is your first pregnancy or the first time meeting your care team, it’s an excellent chance to get familiar with the office and the staff. They’re here to address your concerns and join in your excitement, so feel free to ask them as many questions as you want.
How Should I Prepare For an Ultrasound?
Your doctor should give you general instructions before your appointment, but here are a few tips that we’ve found always help.
- Make sure to wear two-piece clothing that allows access to your stomach.
- Drink water before your appointment—a full bladder helps sound waves travel better and improves your ultrasound’s quality. This is more important when you are less than 14 weeks pregnant and have a smaller fetus.
An ultrasound isn’t anything to be afraid of. You’ll meet your new baby, shed a few tears, and take the next step toward bringing a life into the world.
If you are in the Toledo, Ohio region and need a free ultrasound, be sure to schedule an appointment with Heartbeat of Toledo!