One of the most helpful tools doctors have for checking on your pregnancy is an ultrasound. It’s a noninvasive test with no known risks. It uses sound waves that travel through your abdomen and detect the motion of your baby. With an ultrasound, they can see your baby’s heart beating, limbs moving, and body moving as early as 5 to 6 weeks into pregnancy! Also early on in your pregnancy, they may do what’s called a “transvaginal ultrasound” using a probe. They’d do this type of ultrasound when your baby is too tiny to see with a regular ultrasound.
Your doctor’s office may ask you to drink tons of water so they can “see” your baby easier. Here are a few ways that doctors use the ultrasound:
- Show the size, age, and location of your baby
- Identify whether or not you’re carrying twins
- Measure your baby’s head, abdomen, or bones to figure out which stage of pregnancy you’re in
- See how much amniotic fluid there is
You can request pictures from your ultrasound; some facilities will just automatically provide them. Other facilities even provide you with a video of your entire ultrasound! Ask about it before your scheduled ultrasound. They may ask you to bring in a blank recordable or re-writable disc so they can save the video to it.
Here’s a video that shows a short sample of what you’ll see during your ultrasound:
If you have questions about the pregnancy ultrasound, or about pregnancy in general, please call our 24 Hour Pregnancy Option Hotline: 1-800-923-6784.