The most exciting time aside from giving birth has to be when a mom sees her baby on the ultrasound screen. This especially is true during the 20-week ultrasound when the baby has taken on his or her personality in there. Maybe they are a soccer player and the mom finally gets to see that in action. Maybe they are a dancer that tip toes and flips around. Finally mom gets to peek.
If you are wanting to find out the sex, this is usually the time where that discovery can be made too. Not always as some of you are bound to have an uncooperative baby. Or let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say they are shy.
Though your focus is likely to be on the beautiful creation on the screen, there will be more going on than just finding out if you should buy pink or blue (figuratively.) In this list we are going to cover everything you need to know about what is going on in this appointment. What sort of things they are checking you for, what they are looking for in the baby, and if there is anything you can do to prepare.
15 Having A Mid Pregnancy Ultra Sound Is Not Required
This is going to be followed with a list of exceptions. You know by now that nothing is certain in pregnancy. If you have any warning signs or if there is a risk in anyway, your doctor is likely going to want you to go in for this scan. You may have more luck with a midwife in terms of avoiding "unnecessary" testing like the ultrasound. It's not very common now to skip out on the scan as it's the first opportunity to peek at your little guy or girl and see what kind of wiggling they are doing. If you or your partner are against this test all together, discuss it with your doctor to get their thoughts. There may be alternative tests to try to get some of the information. Or it can all be a surprise on delivery day.
14 The Sonographer Will Be Taking Measurements
The Sonography clicks their computer A LOT during the scan. No, they're not playing Tetris or anything of the kind. They are taking measurements of your baby's head and stomach. That information helps to create a baseline and see that the baby is on track with it's growth according to it's fetal age. You may notice that the person taking the pictures does some nudging at the baby to persuade them to move in a different way. This is to get some better views for the measurements that they have to take. Having the right angle will be crucial in getting the correct measurement. These measurements help to see if there are any problems or testing that should happen in the future for the baby. If their tummy seems larger than normal it could signal that the gestational diabetes test would be something to do a little sooner rather than later, etc.
13 The Position Of The Placenta Is Noted
The placenta can be positioned in a lot of places. It generally doesn't matter that much. However, there are a couple of ways that they don't like to see it. They don't like to see the placenta at the bottom of the uterus. We don't want the placenta to be covering the cervix. That can cause trouble during delivery. Also, there is something called placenta abruption in which the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before delivery. We all things in their locked down until delivery day, so if this looks like it might be happening than there will be some steps to take to prepare for a healthy delivery. You may think that the placenta placement is pretty uninteresting, but it can actually affect you more than you think. If the placenta is attached in the front (anterior placenta), this can significantly affect how much you feel when the baby is kicking. Also, how much your partner can feel on the outside.
12 The Baby's Kidneys Will Be Looked At
The baby's development is looked at while they have you there. Kidneys are checked to make sure that there are two of them. Not only that, but they are able to see if urine is flowing through those kidneys and working properly. The baby is literally pissed off inside you right now? Isn't that crazy? That baby has to pee every half hour or so these days. That's a ton of diapers people. Keep cooking in there baby kidneys! If you go in there when the baby's bladder is empty, you will actually be able to see the bladder fill up if the sonographer points it out. That isn't something I remember ever noticing or going over, but depending on who walks you through the scan- they can really point out a lot about what is going on in there.
11 Cleft Lips Can Be Detected
A cleft lips is a small split or fissure between the mouth and the nose. Nobody knows exactly why they happen, but the lip forms with a small split. This can be detected sometimes during the mid-pregnancy ultrasound.
There is also something called a cleft palette that is a split that occurs in the top of the mouth instead of on the lip. This is not something that is usually discovered on ultrasound and are usually diagnosed after birth.
Again though it's unknown what causes the cleft lip or palette to happen - studies are trying to find the answer. Some studies show cleft lip/palettes could be linked to drinking, smoking, extra weight, or diabetes in the mother prior to pregnancy.
In half of the cases the cleft lip is the only condition the baby presents with. In the other 50 percent of cases there can be heart defects or other genetic conditions.
10 Spinal Cord Is Checked
The person performing the sonogram will be checking out the spinal cord of your little one during the ultrasound. They check to see what the length of the spine is. They see that the little bones on each side are aligned. They also check to make sure that the skin is growing over the spine like it should. One condition that is being checked for when they are looking at the spine is Spina Bifida. Spina Bifida is when there is a gap in the spine of the baby caused by abnormal development. The best thing that you can do to protect against this condition when possible is take prenatal vitamins and folic acid to help the development of the baby. The first 12 weeks of pregnancy are the crucial time for taking the folic acid though taking it throughout pregnancy is recommended.
9 The Heart Is Checked
Checking on the heart is another very important thing done at the 20 week ultrasound. They check on the size of the heart to make sure that the chambers are correctly proportioned to each other. For example the top two chambers called the atria should be about the same size as the bottom two chambers called the ventricles. While they are looking at the heart they are also taking note of the major arteries and veins to make sure all is well in that area. It's amazing to watch that little heart work on the screen. You are likely used to hearing the heart pumping at the appointments, seeing it is a whole other ball game. You can get some readings on the screen about the rate of the beating. Also, you can watch the baby move and see how the heartbeat matches that.
8 Most Hospitals Turn Monitors To Mom-To-Be To Watch
Usually there will be either a whole separate screen set up specially for the mother to see or the sonographer will turn their screen for the mother to see the baby. In instances where there is only one screen it may be tilted back to the sonographer while they are taking measurements. In addition, the ultrasound will likely end with you getting your first pictures of your baby. Some sources say that the hospital charges for the photos if you want to keep them. This wasn't my experience. They were just printed and handed over at the end. The only time I have heard of having to pay for the pictures would be if you are going to an ultrasound kiosk not associated with your OB's office.
7 Limit On Scans
There is no limit on the number of ultrasound scans that a pregnant woman can have. Most doctors prefer for them to be done for some medical reason. However, they are often done for the dating of the pregnancy and then there's the mid pregnancy ultrasound. If you are high risk you will have more scans to check on the baby's condition of the baby throughout the pregnancy. That is pretty much the only perk to having to endure a risky pregnancy.
When the 20 week ultrasound is done, 15 percent of them that will need to be redone for one reason or another. Whether there was something that needs to be remeasured, something was a concern or something was missed by the first person that did the scan. This is something you can keep in mind if you are called in for an additional scan.
6 There Are Small Preparations That Can Be Made Before Scan
Some sonogram specialists will ask that you come with a full bladder for the ultrasound. When the bladder is full, it will push the uterus up higher giving a little better view. Depending on how long you have to wait for the appointment you can be in quite a bit of discomfort if you have waited too long to go to the potty. Don't worry too much about this being a problem. It's way more important that you be comfortable and not wet your pants during this time than you make your bladder perform balloon animals feats. Another thing that some advise if having something a little sweeter right before to "wake-up" the baby. So like an orange juice or really cold water. Beyond that, you are going to just lay back and watch the show.
5 Bringing Someone With Is Allowed
You are allowed to bring someone with you to the ultrasound. There will likely be different rules on the number of people depending on where you have the ultrasound and what the capacity of the room is. This is something I chose to keep between my husband and me, however if you have kids that might want to see their sibling or a grandparent that needs to see, than it may be possible to have additional people. The important thing here is that you are comfortable and have the people that you want there. This is a medical procedure that is going to be happening on your body, so if you don't want a certain so and so to see your belly - well than that is your choice not to have that one 3rd cousin in the room to see it all unfold.
4 Finding Out The Baby's Gender Is Usually Possible
Unless you are already raising a defiant little baby, you should be able to find out if the baby is a boy or girl. That's not fair, maybe the baby isn't being difficult - maybe they are shy. We should give them the benefit of doubt on this.
Though it's usually possible, you certainly do not have to find out the gender of the baby at this ultrasound. One thing you may want to do is be sure you let the sonogram specialist know that you don't want to know and even remind them a couple times. Especially if it is going to really bum you out to have that spoiled. All of the people that worked on me asked several times and made sure again before telling us. Can you imagine having that job? Wouldn't you be so incredibly tempted to just blurt it out?
3 Time Will Be Sent Peaking At Ovaries And Uterus Condition
This ultrasound isn't all about the baby. The sonographer is also going to take a look at your uterus and ovaries to make sure that they are in tip top shape. They check to see if there are any cysts. They will see where the umbilical cord is hanging out. They do some rooting around to see if there is anything else to note. They check on the overall health of the ovaries and verify that there are no tumors in there with the baby. You want them to make sure that once this baby is out there is nothing else that needs to be monitored on your end to make sure you are at optimal health after birth. They will also measure the length of the cervix to make sure that it's not shortening.
2 The Sonographer Will Verify How Many Babies
We have all heard the stories about the second or third baby being missed on the ultrasound the first couple times. This is the chance for the ultrasound specialist to make sure that you have the correct number of babies in there. "Correct" might not be the right term here as who is to say that that triplet isn't the right number. However they are going to check out any shadows that they see and take a peek around that baby to make sure he or she isn't hiding a friend in there with them. You can't have them playing tricks so early or you are going to have a rough time. If you feel like you see anything extra on the ultrasound while you are there - ask the ultrasound tech. Honestly, it was very hard for me to figure out what was what on the screen, so the tech was very helpful when questions came up.
1 There Are Different Types of Ultrasounds
There are different types of ultrasound machines. There is a transvaginal ultrasound in which a wand is inserted inside you to have a look around. This type of ultrasound is not likely to be used at the 20 week appointment.
The Standard Ultrasound is the 2-d ultrasound in which it goes over your belly.
An Advanced Ultrasound is like the standard ultrasound, but it's slightly more sophisticated equipment is used to pinpoint a certain area. It is more targeted than the standard.
A Doppler Ultrasound bounces the frequency in sound waves to measure things that move in the body, like blood cells.
3-D Ultrasounds will use specially designed probes to create an image that is 3 dimensional.
4-D or Dynamic 3-D ultrasound is used to get a look at the baby's sweet face and movements.
Last, but not least a fetal echocardiography ultrasound can be used to check out the baby's heart.