Ultrasounds During Pregnancy: What to Expect

Relax; ultrasounds aren’t so scary. In fact, they are painless and a truly exciting part of your pregnancy allowing you to spend quality time getting to see, hear and know your baby. During an ultrasound, the technician uses a hand-held transducer that transmits sound waves through your uterus. The waves send signals back to the ultrasound machine that then converts the waves into images of your baby. An ultrasound serves a multitude of purposes for mothers-to-be and their babies, find out what to expect during first, second and third trimester ultrasound appointments:

• First Trimester: When you are approximately 6 to 8 weeks pregnant, you will receive your first ultrasound. At this first stage of pregnancy, your baby is extremely small and is closer to your birth canal than your abdomen, so the ultrasound will be done transvaginally. The ultrasound will reveal the baby’s age and confirm your due date. It will be able to detect an ectopic pregnancy or any abnormalities. The exam will also monitor your baby’s heartbeat and confirm if you are pregnant with one or multiple babies.

• Second Trimester: During the second trimester, an ultrasound will produce a much clearer, more detailed image of your baby. The exam will not be transvaginal; instead it will be done over your stomach. The technician will slather gel on your abdomen, and then will glide the transducer across your stomach. This is the most thorough checkup your baby will have prior to his or her birth. It will evaluate your baby’s growth and check his or her toes and fingers. It will also ensure that his or her organs are developing properly, checking the heart, brain, kidneys and liver for any abnormalities. Once you are 18-20 weeks along in your pregnancy, you can typically find out the gender of your baby, if you wish to of course! If you wish to find out the sex of your baby, let your technician know at the beginning of your ultrasound appointment.

• Third Trimester: Ultrasounds are not routinely done during your final trimester of pregnancy; however, certain situations require an ultrasound to check your baby’s health and ensure a smooth, safe pregnancy. You may receive a third trimester ultrasound if your baby seems too big or small, if you have gone past your due date or if there are any other health concerns or risks of your pregnancy.

When attending your ultrasound appointment, dress comfortably. Call and ask your technician if you should drink plenty of water before your exam. Also, ask your technician if you should refrain from eating prior to your appointment. Ultrasound technicians are specially trained and will ensure you are comfortable throughout your entire appointment. It is important to remember ultrasounds are considered safe for both you and your baby, as long as they are done for medical purposes and performed by a trained professional with the proper equipment.

We are a full-service diagnostic center offering ultrasounds, as well as digital mammography, CT scans, bone density testing, digital X-rays and more. To schedule an imaging appointment with us, please call 618-288-4929. We here at Maryville Imaging, LLC wish you a happy, healthy pregnancy!