*This post was written for LivedWithLove.com by Glenn Josephik. Glenn is an account representative and the marketing coordinator at MedCorp LLC, the industry leader and premier business source for used portable ultrasound systems. You can follow Glenn Josephik on Google+.
Finding out you are pregnant starts a whirlwind of activity. It seems as if there are a million things to do before your baby’s arrival with only nine months to cram it all in. Not only do you have to grow a human being, but also navigate the world of prenatal care.
Choosing the best options for you and your baby may seem intimidating, but one thing expectant moms shouldn’t worry about is a prenatal ultrasound exam. An ultrasound is a safe and routine procedure where high-frequency sound waves are transmitted through the abdomen using a device called a transducer. This allows the technician to see inside of the abdomen. Echoes are then recorded and transformed into video or photographic images of your baby.
Ultrasounds are non-invasive and do not utilize any radiation. Despite the documented safety of prenatal ultrasounds, you may hear that the sonic energy used by the ultrasound transforms into heat, which could impact a fetus’s health. However, be assured that the Federal Food and Drug Administration has strict guidelines on the energy levels emitted by ultrasound machines, so there is no need to worry about an ultrasound harming your baby in any way.
Ultrasounds are typically scheduled in the second trimester, but can be safely performed at any stage of pregnancy. After scheduling your first prenatal ultrasound, you will be asked to come to the facility with a full bladder. This allows for a clearer image of your baby and is the only potentially uncomfortable aspect of the exam. Once the ultrasound begins, the technician will rub a lubricant on your stomach and then move a transducer over the surface of your skin. A nearby monitor will display an image of what is going on inside your abdomen, where you will be able to see your baby for the first time.
An ultrasound exam will also provide you important information about your baby like its size and position. If there is a history of multiples in your family, an ultrasound can also determine how many fetuses are present. Depending on when the ultrasound is performed, it is also possible for the sex of your baby to be revealed.
Although most pregnancies only require one ultrasound, it is just as safe to have multiple ultrasounds performed. However, your doctor may recommend against this because of the time and cost involved. Additionally, there are non-medical facilities that offer ultrasounds to provide expectant parents keepsake photos and videos of their baby. Again, the ultrasound itself is perfectly safe, but your doctor may recommend against these unnecessary exams because a technician with no medical training might perform the ultrasound and miss an important change in your pregnancy.
While pregnancy can be a stressful time, there is no need to stress about an ultrasound. If you are pregnant, be sure to discuss with your doctor the best timetable for scheduling your ultrasound appointment. The hardest part will then be waiting for your ultrasound so you can finally see your growing baby!