What You Need To Know About Prenatal Ultrasounds

As a first-time mother, there will be several medical procedures performed during your pregnancy that are used to ensure your baby is healthy. One of those is an ultrasound. Since this is your first pregnancy, the first ultrasound can be both exciting and induce nervousness. 

What Is a Prenatal Ultrasound?

The prenatal ultrasound relies on sound waves to produce photographic images or videos of your growing baby. Your ob-gyn can use the ultrasound to also look at the amniotic sac and your ovaries. 

It is very likely that your ob-gyn will rely on a topical ultrasound rather than a vaginal ultrasound. The ultrasound will give your ob-gyn a fairly accurate assessment of the gestational age of your baby. 

Ultrasounds are considered to be a safe medical assessment tool. How often your ob-gyn conducts an ultrasound is based on several factors, including your overall health, the suspected health of your baby, and your insurance. In some cases, a doctor can even use portable ultrasound machines to come to you if you are unable for some reason to travel to the hospital.

How Do You Prepare for the Ultrasound?

To aid your ob-gyn in getting the best picture from the ultrasound, there are a few things you can do before your appointment. 

You should avoid wearing jewelry near the area that will be examined by your ob-gyn. Your ob-gyn might have you change into a gown while you are getting the ultrasound, so it is a good idea to wear clothing that is easily removable. 

In some instances, your ob-gyn might ask you to avoid eating for a period of time leading up to the procedure. If so, follow your doctor's orders. 

If your ob-gyn is performing a vaginal ultrasound, you will need to drink four to five glasses of water before your appointment. It is important that you do not urinate until afterwards. A full bladder will provide your ob-gyn with a better quality image of your growing baby.

What Happens When the Ultrasound Is Over?

Your ob-gyn will discuss the results once the procedure is complete. If there were any problems detected, your ob-gyn might order additional testing. 

Another more in-depth ultrasound might be performed. Which tests depends on the nature of the suspected problems. 

Ultrasounds are considered to be part of the normal medical care routine for pregnancy now. When your ob-gyn decides to administer one depends on what he or she feels is medically necessary. If you have concerns about the procedure or the results, discuss them with your ob-gyn. He or she can help you understand the procedure and the results.