One of the most exciting things that expecting parents go through is the first ultrasound. Having proof of life for you baby is tremendously important, especially if you’ve been wanting to have a child for a long time already.
For those who are still unfamiliar, an ultrasound is a diagnostic test that uses high-frequency sound waves that bounce back from the fetus as vibrations. Black and white pictures on the monitor are the result of the electrical signals that are projected back to the machine. Usually, these images display your child’s organs and soft tissues.
To help you prepare for this exhilarating event, we’ve listed down the 4 most common things to expect during your first ultrasound.
Hearing your baby’s heartbeat
At around six weeks old, your OB/GYN can do a routine verification of your baby’s heartbeat already to see if your pregnancy is viable. During your first ultrasound, you’ll be able to see the beat on a monitor and hear it drumming through a Fetal Doppler that measures your baby’s heart rate. Over the course of nine months, you’ll be hearing this every time you go see a doctor to make sure that your baby’s alive and well.
Getting a due date
One of the first things your doctor will ask you about is the date of your last period. From there, measurements will be taken from your ultrasound to give a general idea on your baby’s gestational age that defines the number of weeks that has passed since your last menstrual cycle. The date of conception will then be calculated and a 40-week period will be predetermined to set a potential due date for you. Nevertheless, most dates are only signifiers of possible labor since it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll give birth on the exact date that your doctor has specified.
Locating your baby
When your fertilized egg implants anywhere outside of the uterus, you’re most likely a candidate for ectopic pregnancy. The cervix, ovary, abdomen and fallopian tubes are some of the locations that count for this kind of pregnancy. During your ultrasound, you’ll quickly learn if you’re one of the few women experiencing this. When this happens, the egg has to be removed surgically or with medication.
Chemical pregnancy also occurs at times where the fertilized egg doesn’t fully implant itself in the uterus. Unfortunately, this isn’t a viable type of pregnancy.
Counting the number of fetuses
What comes as a shock to most parents during their first ultrasound is the fact that sometimes, you can carry more than one baby. Just when they think they can handle one child, they get surprised with the presence of another fetus. During the first ultrasound, your doctor can determine if you’re carrying twins or triplets. For families with this type of birth in their lineage, it’s highly possible for the mothers to carry more children as well. Moreover, it’s still possible even if no one in your family has had twins before because mere hormonal changes can cause this. In any case, it’s better to just be prepared.
Getting the first ultrasound photograph of your child has got to be one of the best experiences that expecting mothers anticipate. Even if you are going through so much pain during the first trimester, looking at that picture can somehow ease you since you’re reassured that your baby’s perfectly fine.
As you progress in your pregnancy journey, there are still a lot more things you have to prepare for such as your birth plan and maternity bag. It might be overwhelming at first but sooner or later, you’ll get the hang of it.