An ultrasound examination uses sound waves and echoes to make images of your baby. When a pregnant individual has an ultrasound, a hand-held device is rubbed along the patient's belly. It releases sound waves that bounce off the developing baby. The echoes from the returning sound waves make an image of the fetus on a T.V. monitor.
An ultrasound thoroughly examines your baby from head to toe and is painless. Some patients may be asked to have a full bladder which can be uncomfortable. An ultrasound is an important part of prenatal care because it can provide the patient and physician with important information about your baby.
You may have an ultrasound in early pregnancy to:
- confirm the baby is growing inside the uterus (womb)
- confirm the patient is pregnant with a single baby or if there is more than one baby present
- estimate the baby's due date
or between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy to:
- help estimate the baby's due date
- watch the baby's growth
- help perform tests
- find certain birth defects
or in late pregnancy to:
- find out how the baby is doing
- check the growth of the baby
- help plan the delivery