How Do I Prepare for an Ultrasound?

July 10, 2015

For many expectant mothers, seeing their baby on an ultrasound is one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy. Ultrasound technology uses high frequency sound waves to create pictures of the baby in the womb. An ultrasound is not only exciting for expectant parents, but the technology is imperative to the safety of the fetus as it monitors development. Despite its high-tech nature, the ultrasound procedure is simple. Learn more about ultrasounds and how you can prepare below.

Why Is an Ultrasound Needed?

There are many reasons for an ultrasound. Depending on the specific trimester of a pregnancy, an ultrasound can be used for different reasons, including:

First Trimester: During the first trimester of pregnancy, or weeks one to 12, an ultrasound may be done for many reasons. An ultrasound can confirm a pregnancy, check the fetal heartbeat, examine the placenta, uterus, ovaries and cervix, diagnose an ectopic pregnancy and much more.

Second Trimester and Third Trimester: The second trimester spans from weeks 12 to 24, while the third trimester spans from 24 weeks until birth. An ultrasound during this time can monitor the fetus’s growth and position, determine the baby’s sex, check for Down Syndrome, congenital abnormalities and birth defects, measure the length of the cervix, confirm an intrauterine death and more.

Preparing for Your Ultrasound

Preparing for your ultrasound is simple. Typically, you do not need to do anything to prepare prior to your appointment. During an ultrasound, your doctor will try to get a clear image of the fetus, as well as your reproductive organs, so it may be beneficial to drink lots of fluids prior to your appointment as a full bladder can help achieve a better image. We recommend drinking three 8-ounce glasses of water one hour before your ultrasound so you arrive with a full bladder.

What Happens During an Ultrasound?

During an ultrasound, you will lie down on an examination bed or table. The ultrasound technician will apply a safe, water-based gel to your abdomen. Then, the ultrasound technician will place a transducer onto your belly, which will capture black and white images onto the ultrasound screen. In some cases, a transvaginal ultrasound may be performed, especially during the first trimester or when a clear image cannot be produced. This procedure involved a small ultrasonic probe that is inserted into the vagina.

The Right Ultrasound Services for You

At OB-GYN Women’s Centre, we make women’s prenatal care convenient. Our team of experienced and professional staff is here for you throughout every step of your pregnancy. If you have any questions regarding ultrasounds, pregnancy, or other gynecological issues, call us today or schedule your next appointment online.