Congratulations! You're pregnant! Now, before you get too carried away with the excitement of it all, let's talk about one of the most important steps in your pregnancy journey - getting an ultrasound. Not only does it give you that first glimpse of your little bundle of joy, but it can also provide essential information on the health and development of your baby.
But when should you schedule that first appointment? Let’s dive into some things to consider.
The importance of an ultrasound
First things first: why is getting an ultrasound so crucial during pregnancy? Well, for starters, it can confirm a viable pregnancy by detecting a fetal heartbeat. It can also help determine if there are any issues with implantation or possible complications such as multiples (woohoo!), gestational age and potential chromosomal abnormalities.
Additionally, depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy and what type of ultrasound is performed (there are several), they may be able to identify gender or topographical elements like spines or limbs. Whether this will reveal dad's worst fears regarding future sports positions remains TBA...
Why Early Ultrasounds Matter
While ultrasounds throughout a pregnancy aren’t mandatory (and we would absolutely not recommend them every week just for funsies), early ultrasounds between 7-9 weeks have shown many benefits including:
- Identifying multiple pregnancies
- Ruling out ectopic pregnancies
- Estimated Due Date confirmation based on crown-rump length
- Screening tests for birth defects such as Down syndrome
Factors To Consider When Scheduling An Ultrasound
Now that we’ve established why ultrasounds matter let’s discuss what factors play into determining when to schedule yours.
Maternal age plays a huge role in the timing of prenatal care appointments (which I’m sure isn't news). Women over 35 fall under the “advanced maternal age” umbrella which typically means an increase in certain pregnancy risks, such as chromosomal mutations like Down’s Syndrome that are much more prevalent. Because of this, early ultrasound screening is especially important for women who find themselves in the “high risk” category.
If you've had a previous miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, it's essential to schedule your first ultrasound accordingly. An earlier appointment can rule out complications and put any worries to rest so you can enjoy trying (and succeeding) with spreading Christmas cards featuring tiny shoes on balconies.
On the opposite side of things, if you have a history of uneventful pregnancies - generally considered those without complications lasting longer than one week after childbirth- then typical prenatal care appointments may suffice; however checking with your OB beforehand still would not be harmful.
Women dealing with health problems such as diabetes or hypertension should consider an earlier dating scan around 7-9 weeks gestation to ensure potential risks involved within these preexisting conditions aren’t further complicated by newfound issues identified later in gestational growth stages.
Preferred Care Provider Schedule
One other factor that people often overlook is provider availability. If you already have an OBGYN personally selected or assigned via medical insurance plan coverage and they tend to book up fast (of course they want some work-life balance too) , if possible reach out as soon as possible (PROTIP: send balloons) into scheduling because selecting another lesser known/covered provider at the last minute could result in extra stress due to possibly arranging transport from a farther location among multiple other items necessary before their tool time premiere day(s).
Timing Of Your Ultrasound Appointment
Ok! You’re ready for making that critical appointment…and now what? Normally what happens is pregnant women will visit their healthcare provider whose role involves taking blood tests plus maybe running through pop quizzes with a midwife before scheduling the ultrasound scan examination. The “when” regarding first activities within prenatal care may differ depending on the provider but most places typically average somewhere between weeks 6-12 for that initial visit
The first trimester is defined as from conception (zero weeks pregnant) to week twelve pregnancy (duh). Ultrasounds performed during this time are crucial in identifying heartbeat as well as rule out conditions such like an ectopic or molar pregnancy, choriocarcinoma, calcium deposits and other possible complications.
A lot of people tend to get nervous about their first appointment - you might be unsure what kind of preparation is needed ahead so let’s highlight some items infants should do/not do:
- Bring any pertinent medical history documents
- Drink lots of water beforehand –the blackout curtains will make everyone thirsty!
- Wear comfortable clothing that making casting more efficient
- Eat super uncomfortable meals for breakfast (eg spicy buffalo hot wings)
- Show up late because your ride's trying to hit one last sale at Lululemon
- Forget your ibuprofen if the sound waves start giving headaches
Second-trimester ultrasounds are conducted between weeks 18-22 usually able to identify structural defects including diaphragmatic hernias, gastroschisis/omphalocele,hypoplastic hearts or any placental abnormalities.
The second trimester can be rough emotionally too even when things go swimmingly (which I'm sure they will!)[sarcasm] since birthing classes all around town selling out quickly plus receiving advice online becoming increasingly opinionated.
Ultimately it comes down to wanting a predictable delivery date regarding having maternity leave coverage sorted and building excitement! While there isn't necessarily an exact answer concerning timing , thanks goodness!!! There definitely ARE good reasons to decline weekly ultrasounds similar to being offered promo coupons for Subway every time you walk by the sandwich shop. Therefore, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider and ask any questions about how many sessions they recommend or which screening tests are accessible in order to choose a schedule that works best for you and the baby's needs! Happy scanning!!!