The approach used for your obstetrical ultrasound may be transvaginal (a probe inserted into your vagina) or transabdominal (a probe moved across your abdomen). If you are in the first trimester (the first 12 weeks of pregnancy) the sonographer will use a transvaginal approach. The sonographer will place the probe partially in your vagina. You may feel some pressure but the exam is generally less uncomfortable than a pelvic exam. Images of your pelvis can be viewed on the monitor. The sonographer will explain the images and will document them. If you are in the second and third trimester of your pregnancy a transabdominal approach will be used. For this exam the probe will be moved across your lower abdomen to obtain images of your baby. Images of your uterus and baby can be viewed on the monitor. The sonographer will explain the images and will document them. Occasionally in the second and third trimester a transvaginal ultrasound exam may be necessary.
What can I expect to see on my first trimester ultrasound?
You will learn the location of the pregnancy (making sure that the pregnancy is located in your uterus) and the number of embryos. You may see the heartbeat of the embryo and receive a new due date. Your ovaries will also be evaluated.
What can I expect to see during my second and third trimester ultrasound?
You will learn how the baby is positioned, the location of the placenta and the amount of amniotic fluid. Your baby's growth may be measured. In addition, your baby's anatomy and well being may be evaluated.
Are there limitations to ultrasound of my baby?
An ultrasound examination in pregnancy does not guarantee a normal baby. The ability of the ultrasound examination to detect problems with the baby depends on many things: the age of the baby at the time of the ultrasound, the position of the baby as well as your body size. Some problems cannot be seen by ultrasound because they are too small or not even visible by ultrasound.
How many ultrasounds of my baby will I have?
Most women will need only one ultrasound during their pregnancy. However, for a variety of reasons your provider may recommend additional exams to help monitor your baby.
Will I get ultrasound pictures of my baby?
Yes. When the sonographer has completed the exam she will give you some images to take home. Videotaping, cameras, and recording equipment are not allowed in the ultrasound exam rooms.
Will I find out the sex of my baby?
Maybe. Sometimes it is not possible to determine the gender due to baby's position/or age. Ultrasound exams are not done for gender determination.
Can I bring my family and/or friends to my ultrasound examination?
Yes, but please keep in mind that the ultrasound is a medical examination. The sonographer requires a quiet, respectful atmosphere in which to concentrate on performing the exam. Also, be advised that the ultrasound rooms are relatively small and will be dimly lit for the exam.