If you have never had an ultrasound before, it may seem like an uncomfortable or invasive process. However, knowing what to expect beforehand can help you feel more confident and prepared.

If you are debating if you need one for your pregnancy, ultrasounds provide critical information about your health.

Read this article to learn why this is important, what to expect during the ultrasound procedure, and how to prepare beforehand.

Why an Ultrasound Matters

A trained technician (called a sonographer) conducts the ultrasound. Using soundwaves, they focus on a specific area of your body and create a digital scan.

This digital image can give crucial pregnancy details, including the gestational age. It also determines whether the pregnancy is progressing or if you’ve had a miscarriage.

It will also inform you of the pregnancy’s location. This detail is important to confirm that the pregnancy is not ectopic.

If the pregnancy is located outside of the uterus, it is ectopic and will not survive. Ectopic pregnancy is a serious medical condition that should be treated immediately.

When to Get an Obstetric Ultrasound

You will want an ultrasound during the first trimester (around 7-8 weeks). According to the Cleveland Clinic, these ultrasounds involve a wand-like device called a transducer that’s inserted into your vagina to produce the most accurate images. Transvaginal ultrasounds are considered to be invasive, so you may feel some mild discomfort.

If you continue the pregnancy, you’ll have an anatomy scan (around 20 weeks). The sonographer will conduct the ultrasound with a transducer and direct it over your stomach area (a transabdominal ultrasound).

This appointment is an opportunity to learn about the fetus’s sex, learn about any potential congenital disabilities, and make sure there are no severe health conditions.

How Long Do Ultrasounds Take?

Transvaginal ultrasounds can take 15 minutes to an hour.

Abdominal ultrasounds take an average of 30 minutes.

How Can I Prepare for an Ultrasound?

You may need to have a full bladder for an obstetric ultrasound. The sonographer or medical professional will provide additional guidance prior to your appointment.

It’s always recommended to wear loose, comfortable clothing to an ultrasound.

Next Steps

Crystal Women’s Clinic offers no-cost pregnancy services, including limited ultrasounds.

We also offer pregnancy testing and options consultations, where you can ask questions and learn more about the pregnancy process in a safe, supportive environment.

Contact us today to make an appointment!

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