If you’re pregnant, an ultrasound is a routine (and exciting!) part of prenatal care.
The number and timing of ultrasounds can vary depending on the healthcare provider and your pregnancy, but most women typically have at least two ultrasounds across the 9 months of being pregnant.
The first ultrasound is usually done between 6 and 8 weeks of pregnancy to confirm the pregnancy, check for the baby’s heartbeat, and estimate the due date. This ultrasound is often done transvaginally, where a small wand is inserted into the vagina to get a clear view of the uterus and the developing baby.
The second ultrasound is typically done between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy and is more detailed than the first. This ultrasound checks the baby’s anatomy and organs to ensure that everything is developing normally. This is also the ultrasound where the healthcare provider can often determine the baby’s gender if that’s something you want to know.
We asked our advisory doctors, Dr. Gigi Kroll, OB/Gyn and Dr. Jeffery Illeck, OB/Gyn to share with us important questions you can ask during your ultrasound appointments to understand how your baby is developing.
One of the main reasons for an ultrasound is to check your baby’s growth and development. Your healthcare provider will measure your baby’s head circumference, abdominal circumference, and femur length to estimate their size and growth. Ask your healthcare provider about your baby’s growth and if they’re measuring within the expected range. If your baby is measuring smaller or larger than expected, your healthcare provider may recommend further testing or monitoring.
- Is My Baby’s Anatomy Developing Normally?
Ultrasounds can also check for any abnormalities or malformations in your baby’s anatomy. Your healthcare provider will look for things like the placement of the placenta, the number of amniotic sacs, and the position of the baby. They’ll also examine your baby’s heart, brain, lungs, and other organs to make sure everything is developing normally. If your healthcare provider identifies any abnormalities, they may recommend additional testing or monitoring.
- What Is The Sex of My Baby?
Many parents are excited to find out the sex of their baby during an ultrasound. While not all parents choose to find out, it’s a common question to ask at ultrasound appointments. Keep in mind that some babies are positioned in a way that makes it difficult to determine their sex, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a clear answer.
- How Is My Amniotic Fluid Level?
Amniotic fluid surrounds your baby in the uterus and helps protect them from injury. An ultrasound can measure the level of amniotic fluid in your uterus. Too little amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios) or too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios) can indicate a problem with your pregnancy. Ask your healthcare provider about your amniotic fluid level and what it means for your pregnancy.
Ultrasounds are an important part of prenatal care, and asking questions can help you better understand your baby’s growth and development, so never be afraid to ask what’s on your mind. Your healthcare providers are there to support you and ensure the health of your baby.
Have you registered to join us in class yet? Our Newborn Class Series starts when your baby is about 3 weeks old and classes are formed based on your baby’s expected due date—which allows us to place you with other moms whose babies are born closest in age to yours. (That’s where the magic happens!) Ready to register? CLICK HERE.