Since the development of the world’s first B-mode scanner over half a century ago, the word “ultrasound” has become nearly synonymous with the word “pregnancy.” Obstetrics has such influence in the development of ultrasound tech that a great deal of the technological progress we’ve seen in diagnostic ultrasound medicine has been driven by the general desire to create better, more accurate prenatal ultrasound equipment. And that’s no coincidence as the health of a developing baby is top priority for every expectant parent.
Prenatal ultrasound is an important diagnostic tool that helps obstetricians monitor the wellbeing of moms-to-be as well as the health of their growing bundle. Though most expectant mothers have at least one routine sonogram during the 2nd trimester, getting an ultrasound exam prior to your 2nd trimester has many benefits, including getting to know how long you’ve been pregnant, whether you’re expecting multiples and even your baby’s due date. If you’ve just found out you’re expecting and you’re wondering if you should have an ultrasound sooner than later, here are five reasons to have an ultrasound before your 2nd trimester:
A 1st trimester ultrasound can confirm that the pregnancy is not ectopic, a complication that can have serious, life-threatening consequences for the mother. In an ectopic pregnancy, the embryo implants outside of the uterine cavity, most often in the fallopian tube. Unfortunately, this type of pregnancy is rarely viable and because the condition can be so dangerous for the mother, early diagnosis is key.
Sooner is better
A 1st trimester ultrasound may detect things in early pregnancy that raise red flags (for example the pregnancy sac is small or irregular or the baby’s heartbeat is slower than normal). Generally, most miscarriages occur at around 7 week’s gestation. But an ultrasound exam can detect the gestational sac (the fluid surrounding the embryo) as early as four and a half weeks. Your doctor can date your pregnancy, detect your baby’s heartbeat and determine whether you will need follow up visits for more testing right from the start. Though these things happen, showing these type of symptoms does not necessarily mean something will go wrong; many pregnancies that start this way go on to be perfectly normal. But a 1st trimester ultrasound allows your doctor to spot complications early and nip them in the bud.
Mommy knows best
As your baby’s vessel, your health is extremely important to its well being. In order to assure that you’re working at peak levels, your doctor may wish to take a look at other structures in your pelvic area, including checking your uterus for fibroids or ovarian cysts. Early ultrasound can provide reassurance that all is progressing normally and rule out any potential problems in the abdominal and pelvic region
Just like our fingerprints, we all come in different shapes and sizes. Your obstetrician will want to ensure they’re doing what’s best for you and the little person growing inside you, specifically. Once your initial exam is performed, your doctor can get a feel for who you are and perform future tests in the context of your overall medical history and the results of previous ultrasound testing.
It’s like ripping a Band-Aid
Most expectant parents are understandably nervous as there can be a great range of emotions running amok during this exciting time. Getting an ultrasound before your 2nd trimester will help put you at ease by giving you a proactive role in monitoring the health of your unborn child. Of course, the initial sonogram itself can be a great source of anxiety for many mommies-to-be, but don’t fret! Your doctor (and everyone helping along the way) understands that this can be just a bit scary; they will be happy to answer all of your questions, so when you go for your exam be sure to ask any that you may have and stay positive—it’ll be over before you know it!
This post was written for Mum of 3 Boys 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 +.