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Pregnancy Ultrasounds: What to Expect & Why They Matter

Pregnancy ultrasounds are a large part of women’s obstetrics healthcare. Ultrasounds have been used since the 1970s to track babies’ and mothers’ development and health conditions. Your provider at Genesis OBGYN will perform the ultrasounds you need as part of your pregnancy journey.

What Is an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is a type of test that uses sound waves to create an image of your baby while it’s still in the womb. Ultrasounds use sound waves, which are interpreted into images through a computer. These images assist your provider in checking the condition of your pregnancy, including some medical risks, as well as how far along you are. Ultrasounds are painless for both you and your baby.

During your ultrasound, you will be lying on your back on an exam table. The ultrasound wand, called the transducer, will be placed on your stomach. With the help of some gel, the wand will move across your stomach, so your provider can see your baby from different angles.

If you are early in your pregnancy, your provider may perform a transvaginal ultrasound. The wand is inserted into your vagina for a closer look and may pick up an early pregnancy better than a traditional abdominal ultrasound.

Why Are Ultrasounds Important During Pregnancy?

Ultrasounds are one of the tools that help your provider monitor your fetus’s growth and overall health. Routine prenatal ultrasounds allow your provider to examine:

  • Your baby’s heart
  • Your baby’s head and brain
  • Your baby’s sex
  • Placenta and umbilical cord placement

Fetal ultrasounds can also serve as a diagnostic tool. Your provider can detect potential complications or medical conditions during an ultrasound. If your provider notices anything that needs additional attention, they will let you know and schedule follow-up tests or a 3D ultrasound. We are here to help you manage potential health conditions for you and your child.

When Will I Have Ultrasounds During My Pregnancy?

Most women have several ultrasounds throughout their pregnancies. Your provider will inform you of when your next ultrasound should be according to your medical history and current health and if there are any risks associated with your pregnancy.

The most common intervals for an ultrasound during pregnancy will occur during:

  • First Trimester—Your first ultrasound is done in the first month or two of your pregnancy. It helps your provider determine the age of your fetus and when your due date is likely to be.
  • 11-13 Weeks—When combined with cell-free DNA, your second ultrasound, called a nuchal translucency (NT) ultrasound, can help your provider identify if your baby has a chance of having an extra chromosome (Down syndrome) or anatomical abnormalities. It will also inform your provider if you have a high risk of preeclampsia, a high blood pressure that develops after the 20th week of pregnancy.
  • 19-21 Weeks—This ultrasound will give you and your provider a detailed look at your baby’s anatomy, including the internal organs and sex. It is commonly called an anatomy ultrasound.
  • Last Trimester—During the last trimester of your pregnancy, you may have a few more ultrasounds. These ultrasounds will help your provider assess how your baby is growing and if the baby is the right size.

Schedule Your Pregnancy Ultrasound Today

If you are pregnant, you can schedule regular ultrasounds at Genesis OBGYN. Our providers will tell you what to expect and how to prepare for your ultrasound appointment. Contact us today.