Getting an ultrasound is one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy. Until you deliver, it’s the only way you can see your bundle of joy.
There is, however, more to ultrasound than just a glimpse into the future.
Here, our team of expert obstetricians at the Center for Women’s Health takes a closer look at prenatal ultrasounds and all of the amazing things you can learn about your baby from them.
Understanding the power of ultrasound
Ultrasound uses the power of sound waves to produce clear images of your soft tissues without using harmful radiation found in X-rays and CT scans.
With the flick of the wand (or what we call the transducer), we can quickly collect an immense amount of information about your pregnancy and, most importantly, your growing baby. Here are a few of the things you’ll know when you leave your ultrasound appointment.
Confirm your pregnancy
We perform ultrasounds during your first trimester to confirm your pregnancy and determine the location of your pregnancy. Sometimes, fetuses develop outside of your uterus or in your fallopian tubes, which is also known as an ectopic pregnancy.
With an ultrasound, we can identify these problems and treat them proactively.
Determine your baby’s age and gender
Ultrasound tells us crucial details that help us establish your due date and you start picking out a color scheme for the nursery.
Count the number of babies
You may walk out of your ultrasound with the shock of being pregnant with more than one baby.
Monitor your baby’s growth
On average, you have at least two ultrasounds during your pregnancy. During those exams, we can check your baby’s vitals, including heartbeat and breathing patterns. We also determine if your baby is growing at a normal rate, and we follow your baby’s movements.
Examine prenatal structures
Your body’s development during pregnancy is equally important. Ultrasound tells us if there are issues with your placenta and amniotic fluid.
Identify birth defects
Ultrasound allows us to screen for any potential birth defects developing during your pregnancy. If there are defects present, we can help you prepare to care for your baby’s unique needs.
Investigate potential complications
We order an ultrasound if you present with bleeding and/or complications that threaten your pregnancy and the health of your baby.
Guide other prenatal tests
Should you require a prenatal test such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, an ultrasound acts as a guide for the procedure.
Prepare for delivery
If shortly before you’re set to deliver, we suspect a problem with your baby’s positioning, an ultrasound can tell us how your baby is presenting and allow us to begin discussing your delivery options.
If you’d like more information about prenatal ultrasound, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at either our Newport News or Hampton, Virginia, offices.