Understand the importance of the ultrasound exam.,
Schedule the appointment per your health care provider’s instructions.,
Drink 4 to 6 glasses of water before the exam.,
Wear loose-fitting clothing.,
Relax and lie still during the exam.,
Readjust your clothing at the conclusion of the exam.,
Discuss the results of the ultrasound with your health care professional.
The ultrasound exam is used to evaluate the fetus’ growth and development, and to determine how the pregnancy is progressing. Two ultrasound exams are performed over the course of your pregnancy – one in the first trimester and one in the second.
The first trimester ultrasound is used by health care providers to confirm and date the pregnancy, so you will get a fairly accurate idea of your due date. This ultrasound can also be used to check for the presence of more than one fetus.
The second trimester ultrasound scans for fetal malformations and, in some cases, is able to confirm the sex of the baby. It can also be used to check the position of the baby and the placenta, the baby’s expected weight and the amount of amniotic fluid present.;
, Your first ultrasound will usually be scheduled about 20 weeks into your pregnancy. Check with your health insurance provider to ensure the procedure will be covered and to determine where the exam must be performed. Some insurers require testing to be done at a medical lab, while others approve in-office ultrasounds.
, A full bladder can change the position of the uterus by taking the flexion (bending movement) out of it and pushing it up so it is easier to scan. Also, the fluid in the bladder serves as a good medium for sound conduction. You will be asked to refrain from urinating until the exam is complete.
, You will not need to disrobe for a standard ultrasound, but will need to lift your shirt to fully expose your belly and lower abdomen.
, The technician will apply special gel to your abdomen and will glide a transducer on top of the gel.
The sound waves reflected off of your bones and other tissues will be converted into black-and-white or gray images on a monitor for measurement by the technician.
You may be asked to hold your breath for just a few seconds several times during the exam, which should take about 30 minutes in total.
When complete, the technician will assist you with wiping away the conductive gel.
, You will now be able to urinate if necessary and await the results of the ultrasound. Most technicians will provide you with a printout of some of the more recognizable images, which can be saved as a memento of the pregnancy.
, Do not attempt to decipher the ultrasound images on your own, as they are nearly impossible to read by the untrained eye.
According to the National Library of Medicine, normal results would show that the developing baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, and surrounding structures are normal in appearance and appropriate for the gestational age. You may see this section attached with the ultrasound image written in a separate paper.