What Should I Expect From my First Ultrasound?

What to expect what you’re expecting is fairly laid out and, well, expected.  Books available to expecting parents tell you all you need to know about having a child, whether it is how to prepare yourself physically and mentally or how to set up the baby’s room.  Certain aspects of pregnancy, however, can be a little scary as well as exciting.  It helps to know exactly what will happen at certain milestones in your nine-month journey.  Of these milestones, one of the most significant is your first ultrasound.  It’s the first glance you get at your baby.  It’s an intimate experience that can leave you speechless.  It can also be wonderfully intimidating.  To help you get through, here’s what you should expect from, and how to prepare for, your first ultrasound.

About Ultrasounds

Obstetric ultrasonography is the technical term for ultrasounds.  It sounds a lot more complicated than what it actually is, though.  To put it simply, a machine creates a sound wave, it then receives the echoes produced by the sound wave, and finally it creates an image.  You may have your first ultrasound at around 6 to 10 weeks, or at the standard mid-pregnancy.

Ultrasounds provide a lot of useful information for both you and your primary doctor.  Ultrasound technicians check for the possibility of twins, the location of the placenta, the amount of amniotic fluid, the baby’s heartbeat, sex and size.

How to prepare

Knowing how the procedure takes place is helpful beforehand.  Research the possible abnormalities that can be detected by ultrasound, so you can know what to expect if that comes up.  If possible, take a supportive person with you.  This can be the other parent, or one of your relatives or friends.  It helps to have someone else there.

What to Expect

While ultrasounds may be performed vaginally, they are usually administered through the abdomen.  The National Institute of Health explains how you lie on the examination table with your belly exposed.  The administrator of the ultrasound will then rub a gel you’re your stomach.  A little caution, the gel may be cold.  The purpose of the gel is to improve the sound conduction.  A probe, the device that sends and receives the sound waves, is then gently slid across your stomach.

As the machine translates the sounds into images, you begin to see your baby with your own eyes.  Your baby and their bone material will show up as white on the screen, with amniotic fluid showing up as black.  Technicians examine the whole stomach, taking videos and still images to be shown to your doctor.

In some cases, you may be asked to drink a glass or two of water, to ensure you have a full bladder.  This pushes the uterus up, allowing for a much clearer image.

While the procedure is taking place, you may ask questions, but they are more likely to be answered by your doctor later.  If you prefer not to know your baby’s sex, make sure to tell the technician before.  The procedure itself can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.  The more advanced screenings, however, can take up to an hour.

Overall, the experience of getting an ultrasound is a positive one.  It’s fast, easy, painless, and very informative.  This is one of the key parts of pregnancy, so make it memorable!

If you’re looking for an Ultrasound service in the Louisiana area, come to Doctors Imaging. We’re radiologists concerned about quality patient care. Scheduling is easy, results are available on-site, our rates are below hospitals, and we accept every major insurance.