Start Educating Yourself
“Am I pregnant?” my inner voice asked as I looked at my pregnancy test in disbelief. After trying for so long, I was finally pregnant…
I didn’t know how to express my joy. I just kept looking at the pregnancy test, then my stomach and then my pregnancy test again with the biggest grin on my face.
As I was looking at my pregnancy test, my palms started getting sweaty. I realised that I should really confirm with a doctor before getting ahead of myself.
“Do I need an ultrasound to confirm this?” I said to my reflection in the mirror. Initially, I thought surely there’s nothing I must do beforehand to prepare. All I need to do is turn up, right?
Next thing you know, I was picking up my phone to book an appointment with my doctor.
The Ultimate Guide To Ultrasounds
You may think the uses of an ultrasound are simple, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.Ultrasounds are used to find out many things about your child’s health, not only their growth. Here are a few of the uses:
What is a pregnancy ultrasound?1
A pregnancy ultrasound (also know as a sonogram) is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to image your developing child as well as your reproductive organs. It can help look for any potential problems.
As well as a standard ultrasound, there are other more advanced ultrasounds. These include a 3-D ultrasound, 4-D ultrasound and a fetal echocardiography (examines your child’s heart in detail).
The first trimester:
Ultrasounds during your first trimester may be done to:
- Confirm the pregnancy
- Check the fetal heartbeat
- Estimate a due date
- Check for more than one pregnancy
- Examine the uterus, ovaries and cervix
- Diagnose an ectopic pregnancy (fetus does not attach to the uterus) or a miscarriage
Preparing for an ultrasound:
All you have to do to prepare for your ultrasound appointment is drink about 2-3 8 ounce glasses of water, so that you have a full bladder. Having a full bladder means that your ultrasound technician can get a clearer image of the fetus and your reproductive organs.
What to expect during an ultrasound:
During an ultrasound, your technician will get you to lie down on a bed then proceed to applying a water-based gel on your abdomen and pelvic area.
A small wand (a transducer) will be placed onto your belly and moved around to capture an image of your child. Your technician may ask you to move or hold your breath while they capture the images.
Once the technician checks whether the images are clear, the gel will be wiped off and you are free to empty your bladder.
Types of ultrasounds:
In the later stages of your pregnancy, if your doctor anticipates some complications, there are ways to get more information. Such as more advanced ultrasounds:
3-D ultrasound – This ultrasound lets your doctor examine the width, depth and height of your fetus and your organs. This can be helpful when diagnosing any potential problems with your pregnancy. The procedure is the same as a standard ultrasound, except it uses a special probe and software to create the 3-D picture.
4-D ultrasound – This ultrasound creates a moving video of your fetus. It creates a clearer image of your child’s face and their movements. This procedure is like other ultrasounds, but with more advanced/special equipment.
Fetal echocardiography – This is performed if your doctor thinks your child may have a heart problem. In comparison to a traditional pregnancy ultrasound, this may take a little longer. This ultrasound helps the doctor get a better look at how your child’s heart is functioning by taking an image of the heart which shows the shape, size and structure.
But don’t worry, your doctor should take you through all of this information in more detail when it is necessary.
Educating myself on ultrasounds gave me a sense of confidence and relief when I walked into my appointments, because I knew exactly what they were doing and knew what to expect
Knowing what’s going on at each stage of your pregnancy is very important. It can help ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child.
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