To determine the gestational age. Doctors can use an ultrasound exam to determine exactly how long you have been pregnant, often to within a few days’ accuracy. If you are unsure about the dates of your last period, ovulation, conception, etc., then an early ultrasound can clarify things for you. If you are not concerned about dates and have a good idea about the milestones mentioned, then you might not need an ultrasound examination before your second trimester.
To check for multiples. If you have a family history of twins, triplets, quadruplets and more, your doctor may recommend an early ultrasound examination to check for multiple heartbeats. Multiple pregnancy can be a bit tricky, so the earlier your doctor knows you are carrying multiples, the better. It will also give you more time to prepare yourself for the big family!
To check the viability of the fetus. If you have a high-risk pregnancy or have a history of risk factors, your doctor may recommend an early ultrasound exam to check the viability of the fetus. During the exam, the doctor will be able to determine how well the fetus has implanted, as well as look for any signs of birth defects. Again, this is information that is good to have sooner instead of later so that steps can be taken to address any problems (if they exist).
To check the results of an abnormal or inconclusive test. During the course of your pregnancy, you’ll be subject to a lot of pokes, prods, exams, and tests. While these usually go off without a hitch, sometimes things just aren’t that clear. If that’s the case, you can have an early ultrasound to check things out and make sure everything is progressing nicely. Sometimes, even the doctor’s pregnancy test won’t have a definitive answer, but seeing the fetus in your tummy is all the answer you need!
To meet Baby for the very first time. Many new mommies want to have an ultrasound exam so that they can hurry up and meet their new baby! An ultrasound exam can provide keepsake photos and videos that you can start family albums with. Just remember, it is a medical procedure, not a photoshoot. Be sure to consult with your doctor and find out if he or she thinks that an early ultrasound is a good idea.
Ultrasounds are very safe and effective to have throughout your pregnancy. Remember, you are the patient and you know the most about what is going on with your body. If you think something might be off, an ultrasound exam can provide peace of mind. Speak with your doctor and have a happy pregnancy!