What a Prenatal Ultrasound Can Tell You

Mar 03, 2023
What a Prenatal Ultrasound Can Tell You
When you’re pregnant, your OB/GYN recommends periodic ultrasound exams to keep track of your baby’s development. Sure, you love handing printouts to friends and family — but what do ultrasounds actually tell you about your baby? Quite a lot.

A prenatal ultrasound exam is exciting and amazing: You get to see your baby while it’s still developing inside of you. You can even choose to print out the images and add them to your baby scrapbook or show them to loved ones.

But ultrasounds have a serious purpose, too. They’re an efficient and effective way for your OB/GYN to keep track of your baby’s progress and health. 

Diana Heard, MD, and our team at Glendale OBGYN in Glendale, Arizona, recommend regular ultrasounds as part of your prenatal care. Following is a brief description of why they’re an important component of monitoring maternal and fetal health during pregnancy.

How ultrasound works

Ultrasound safely bounces sound waves off of your fetus and soft tissues to produce clear images without the harmful radiation found in X-rays and CT scans. With the transducer, or wand, we quickly collect an immense amount of information about your pregnancy and, most important, your growing baby. 

Ultrasound confirms your pregnancy

During your first trimester, we perform ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy. We also use it to determine the location of your pregnancy. Rarely, a fetus develops in your fallopian tubes, a dangerous condition known as an ectopic pregnancy. With an ultrasound, we identify ectopic pregnancy and treat it proactively. 

It also lets us count the number of babies you’re carrying. You may possibly walk out of your first ultrasound session with the shock of being pregnant with twins, triplets, or more.

Ultrasound identifies age, gender, and growth

The most exciting part of ultrasound for most parents is learning the sex of their baby. You may also wish to not know the gender; however after a while, it’s obvious on ultrasound.

We also use ultrasound to determine if your baby is developing on target. Generally, you have at least two ultrasounds during your pregnancy. During those exams, we check your baby’s vital signs, such as heartbeat and respiratory rates and patterns. We also determine if your baby is growing normally. We even analyze your baby’s movements. 

Ultrasound examines prenatal structures

An ultrasound isn’t only about your baby. Your own body’s development during pregnancy is equally important. Ultrasound demonstrates if there are issues with your placenta or amniotic fluid that need to be addressed.

Ultrasound pinpoints birth defects and potential complications

Ultrasound also allows us to screen for any potential birth defects that could develop. If we detect defects or abnormalities, we help you make important decisions affecting your and your baby’s future, including preparing for their unique needs.  

We also order an ultrasound if you present with bleeding or any other complications that threaten your health or your baby’s health. If you require a prenatal test such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, we use ultrasound to guide us during the procedure. 

Ultrasound may help us prepare for delivery

If we suspect a problem with your baby’s positioning before childbirth, an ultrasound can tell us how your baby is presenting. This allows us to discuss delivery options, including a possible C-section. 

Are you pregnant? Find out how your baby’s developing by booking prenatal ultrasound today. Contact our friendly team by phone or request an appointment online.