Ultrasounds are pictures of inaccessible places, such as the human womb. They are used for many things, but many women don't have an ultrasound until they get pregnant. With all of the anxiety that comes with first-time motherhood, ease your mind by learning more about what to expect during your ultrasound.
What is an ultrasound?
An ultrasound is a digital image of the inside of a woman's womb that doctors use to evaluate the status of the fetus's development. An ultrasound tech will use a device called a "transducer" to send sound waves into your uterus. As the sound waves bounce around, they sense forms, creating the first images of the baby.
A nurse will perform the ultrasound, and a doctor will go over the results with you. There's minimal discomfort, and you may even get to take the picture home with you!
Why do expecting mothers get ultrasounds?
Ultrasounds allow the doctor to provide their first medical examination, albeit with limited detail. Still, doctors can determine the heart rate, age, and growth rate of the fetus with respectable accuracy.
Doctors look at the ultrasound for signs of the following risks to the baby:
- loss of life
- physical deformity
- dangerous positioning
- musculoskeletal conditions
The doctor will also examine the mother's reproductive organs, muscles, and bones for signs of potential hazards during birth.
When should I get my first ultrasound?
Most expecting mothers get one ultrasound during their pregnancy at roughly 20 weeks along. Doctors recommend waiting until this stage in order to get the best picture of the fetus, but expecting mothers can get an ultrasound as early as 6 weeks.
At six months, the doctors can verify the baby's heartbeat and establish a due date. They will also be able to check the mother's reproductive system to ensure it's healthy enough for birth. At this stage, doctors can detect some genetic conditions. An ultrasound at 20 weeks provides a fuller investigation into genetic conditions and the sex of the baby. The picture itself will be more formed, too.
Women who receive a first-trimester ultrasound will need to return for another ultrasound in the second trimester. The doctor may suggest additional ultrasounds for high-risk patients with diabetes or hypertension.
Are ultrasounds safe?
You can rest assured that ultrasounds are safe for both you and your baby. Sound waves won't generally hurt humans. You still shouldn't receive more ultrasounds than necessary, as it's expensive for medical facilities to hire nurses and buy equipment to perform the procedures.
To find out more, contact a company like Milestones Diagnostics & Wellness.