One of the most exciting moments of pregnancy is when you have your first ultrasound. It’s also one of the most nerve-racking. That’s because while an ultrasound provides your first glimpse of your new family member, it can also reveal potential problems that could interfere with your pregnancy, delivery, or fetal development.
Richard Roberts, MD, and the team at OB/GYN Associates of Conroe in Conroe, Texas, offer ultrasounds at specific times during a woman’s pregnancy to help ensure she and the developing baby stay healthy. Here’s how those ultrasounds work, and what they can tell you about your baby.
Ultrasound imaging uses soundwaves to capture images of your developing baby, uterus, placenta, and other organs and structures inside your body. In fact, ultrasounds are used in most areas of medicine, both to diagnose issues and to manage the treatment of illnesses and diseases.
During a prenatal ultrasound, the provider presses the ultrasound handheld device against your skin, moving it slowly from one area to another. The device emits soundwaves painlessly through your skin. A gel improves contact with your skin and helps the handpiece glide over its surface.
These waves “bounce off” structures under your skin, and the “outgoing waves” are captured by the handheld device, which transmits them to the ultrasound machine. In turn, the machine “interprets” the waves to create detailed images from inside your body.
Some expectant parents worry that ultrasound might be harmful to the developing baby, but ultrasounds are actually very safe. Unlike X-rays and CT scans, they use no radiation, so there’s no fear of exposing a developing baby to potentially harmful radiation waves. In fact, their safety profile is a big reason why ultrasound imaging is used during pregnancy.
Expectant moms have ultrasounds at different times during pregnancy. Typically, an initial ultrasound happens during your first office visit to confirm your pregnancy, estimate the delivery date, and evaluate your uterus.
You’ll also usually have an ultrasound at around 20 weeks to check on the baby’s development and, again, evaluate your uterus (and sometimes, your placenta). This is the time when Dr. Roberts can identify the baby’s gender (assuming the baby is in a position where gender can be determined).
If you have a high-risk pregnancy, Dr. Roberts may recommend ultrasounds at other times during your pregnancy. These images are used to monitor your health and your baby’s health and guide any treatment he prescribes.
Finally, Dr. Roberts offers 3D ultrasounds. These images use special technology to obtain highly detailed images of your developing baby. These ultrasounds aren’t performed for medical reasons, but rather to give you the detailed view many parents desire. These 3D ultrasounds are performed later in your pregnancy — usually between 22-34 weeks.
Ultrasounds are completely painless, and there’s no “recovery” time afterward. As part of your regular prenatal care, ultrasounds give Dr. Roberts and his team one more way to help you and your developing baby stay healthy.
To find out more about the prenatal ultrasound testing we offer, call 936-756-7788 or book an appointment online with the team at OB/GYN Associates of Conroe today.