One of the most exciting moments for any parent is seeing your baby for the first time while having an ultrasound (also called a sonogram – although the sonogram is actually the picture you take home with you). Since it can take up to five months or more for some women to feel the first flutter of baby kicks, seeing that heart beat – and the fetus rapidly growing into a baby with a face, fingers and toes – is simply thrilling.
While these images are rapidly becoming the thing that Facebook postings are made of, ultrasounds are actually considered a part of the routine fetal testing protocol that your labor and delivery team offers to make sure things are A-OK in there.
Due to the miracle of technological innovation, WHA also offers 3D and 4D imaging that allows you to get a complete visual of your baby before he or she is born. These sessions do cost more and are not typically covered by insurance. You can give us a call (913) 677-3113 or contact us to learn more about 3D and 4D ultrasounds or to schedule an appointment.
What Happens During an Ultrasound?
While an ultrasound isn’t required, we do recommend them because in the rare chance that something isn’t quite right, it’s good to know sooner rather than later. Some medical conditions can now be fixed in-utero and others are simply good for your labor and delivery team to know ahead of time so they can provide the right type of medical care once your baby is born. Fortunately, most ultrasound exams result in a green light and happy parents.
The following is a list of what you can expect during the ultrasound procedure.
Schedule an appointment for 20-weeks. At 20 weeks (roughly 5 months) you will undergo a routine ultrasound. These days, they are often done before that for the parents’ sake but these costs are not always covered so you will want to check with your insurance provider.
The purpose of an ultrasound is to verify things like:
- Gestational age
- Rate of growth
- Placement of your placenta
- Fetal heart rate, movement and number (you could have more than one!)
- Fetal position
- Baby’s gender (more and more couples do NOT want to know the gender. If you want your baby’s gender to be surprise, let the ultrasound tech know right away, and remind him/her every single time to prevent a slip up.)
This information will help us learn more about how your pregnancy – and then your labor – will progress.
Drink up and/or hold it. If this is your first ultrasound, your practitioner may ask you to drink plenty of water and/or to avoid using the restroom before your visit. This is because a full bladder helps to get a clearer visual. Pressure on a full bladder is typically the only source of discomfort during an ultrasound, and once you’re further along a full bladder won’t be required.
The ultrasound. During the ultrasound, you will lay back on a reclined table and will be asked to lift your shirt so that your entire belly is exposed. The ultrasound technician will use a wand – called a transducer. The wand produces sound waves that gently move through the abdominal wall and bounce around off various structures. The “bounce patterns” allow the system to produce an image of your uterine and baby’s contours. This is what you will see on the screen.
First, the technician will rub a cool gel all over your belly so the wand can move smoothly along your skin. Then she will slowly move the wand. This process can take anywhere between five minutes to 30-minutes, depending on what they see, or don’t see. Sometimes your baby’s position can make it difficult to get a clear image so a little time may be required in the hopes the baby moves into better position.
Early ultrasounds. If you have an ultrasound prior to the 12-week point, your technician may need to use a vaginal transducer. In this case, you will be provided with a gown or some kind of cover. The transducer will be shaped like a long wand and it will be inserted into your vagina and against your cervix in order to provide an image of your fetus.
Are you ready to schedule your first fetal ultrasound? Contact us here at Women’s Health Associates. We can’t wait to introduce you to your baby.