What Is an Obstetric (Below 16 Weeks) Ultrasound?
Congratulations on your pregnancy! Typically the first Obstetric ultrasound for you and your baby will take place between 10 – 13 weeks. This is known as the dating ultrasound. It provides information to estimate how far along you are, as well approximates your due date. Obstetric ultrasound will be performed by a trained ultrasound technician (sonographer) who will apply conductive gel to your abdomen and move an ultrasound probe around the belly in order to get a visualization of the baby. Your first ultrasound will be able to show the baby’s heart rate, umbilical cord, overall size, and the placenta. As well, it is possible to see your baby’s head, limbs, hands, feet, and the early development of some organs. During this scan, the examiner will be looking at the overall development of the baby, as it is possible to detect some fetal abnormalities at this early stage. Although ultrasound is a safe and reliable diagnostic imaging tool, it is not able to detect all abnormalities or birth defects and further testing may need to be ordered by your doctor if any concerns are raised during the ultrasound. This scan will also be able to inform you of the number of babies you are carrying – whether it is a single birth, twins, triplets, or more multiples. This first ultrasound is a very exciting time for a mother and ultrasound is a fantastic diagnostic tool that is able to help monitor the baby and ensure a healthy pregnancy for both mom and baby.
What Will the Obstetric Ultrasound Reveal?
- Estimated due date and gestational age
- Measurement of the fetal heartbeat
- Determining if the pregnancy is a single or multiple births
- Overall size of the baby
- Health of the placenta
- Examining the mothers uterus, ovaries, and cervix
- Reviewing the images for any abnormalities or defects in the fetus
What Should I Expect and How Do I Prepare for My Appointment?
Please arrive early to your scheduled appointment in order to allow yourself time to check in with the receptionist. It is mandatory to drink four eight-ounce glasses of clear fluid an hour before your scheduled appointment time. A full bladder will help the sonographer to have a clear visualization of the baby for obtaining important images needed in the first trimester ultrasound. An ultrasound poses no health risks to you or the baby, and it a safe way to monitor your pregnancy. The ultrasound will take approximately a half an hour. You are more than welcomed to bring someone with you to the appointment. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding your 10 – 13 week ultrasound, please contact your family physician or obstetrician.