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If you're pregnant, you will undergo a number of appointments and tests to ensure your health and the health of your baby. One of these tests is ultrasound. Many women are excited for this appointment because it's their first opportunity to catch a glimpse of their son or daughter. In fact, many people use this appointment to find out the baby's gender.
While ultrasound is often fun for the parents, it also provides valuable medical insight. During the procedure, the ultrasound technician will take pictures of the baby's brain, heart, stomach, and many other areas of the body. These images are used to ensure the baby's health or to detect any potential problems early. If you've been scheduled for an ultrasound, here are some things you'll need to know ahead of time:
- Most ultrasound procedures are performed by gently moving the ultrasound wand across the woman's stomach. A gel will be applied to the stomach just prior to the procedure. The ultrasound is pain-free with the only side effect being a sticky stomach from the gel.
- The ultrasound is safe for both the mother and the baby.
- Sometimes a transvaginal ultrasound is needed to get an enhanced look at the baby or the mother's uterus, ovaries, or cervix.
- The ultrasound can be used early in pregnancy to confirm your baby's gestational age or if the doctor suspects you are carrying more than one baby.
- For most pregnancies, the ultrasound is performed around 20 weeks. During this appointment, your physician will confirm that mom and baby are healthy and that the baby's growth is on target. The heartbeat will be measured and parents will be able to see the baby move on the screen. This is also usually your baby's first official photo.
- As the pregnancy progresses your doctor may order another ultrasound to determine the baby's expected weight at delivery, the amount of amniotic fluid, and the location of the placenta.
- If the ultrasound does show any health concerns, your doctor may order additional testing or appointments to investigate further or simply to monitor the health of the mother and the baby.
If you've been scheduled for an ultrasound appointment and have any questions or concerns, please contact the office of Jenkins Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine.