The first ultrasound appointment is exciting time for many parents as it gives them a blurry glimpse of their child for the first time. It also lets the physician assess the gender and overall condition of the child. But exciting as the experience may be, some parents mistake ultrasounds to be painful or invasive. If you’re one of them, relax. There’s no needles or tubes involved during an ultrasound. In fact, it even feels relaxing to get your tummy rubbed with petroleum jelly while getting a front row seat as you view your little bundle of joy.
What Happens During Ultrasound?
During an ultrasound, a physician or skilled operator employs a plastic transducer to send high-frequency sound waves via the uterus. These sound waves transmit signals back to a machine and converts it into images of the fetus. An ultrasound test provides your physician with invaluable data. For example, the images can be used by the physician to monitor your baby’s growth, diagnose abnormalities, and determine your due date. Depending on the stage of pregnancy, an ultrasound test may be used differently. All women undergoing pregnancy should get more than one sonogram within the 9-month span.
How Much Does an Ultrasound Cost?
Basically, ultrasound services are covered by medical insurance. However, if the pregnant woman has no medical insurance, the procedure may be more costly. Additional costs will apply in the form of physician’s fees. Having said this, a pregnant woman without insurance should expect to pay much more for multiple ultrasound sessions.
Different Ultrasound Procedures
In the early phase of pregnancy, your physician may perform an internal or trans-vaginal ultrasound that applies the same concepts as standard and Doppler ultrasounds. However, a long and compact transducer covered with a condom and sterile lubricant is used and introduced directly into the vagina. Typically, a pregnant, soon-to-be mother gets a minimum of 2 sonograms. However, some cases where the physician provides home visits and portable ultrasound testing enables the woman to get an early sonogram to confirm childbirth. Between 18 and 22 weeks, a comprehensive anatomy scan known as a level 2 ultrasound is then performed, which is basically performed by a sonographer in a clinic or hospital using more advanced equipment.
In some cases, a pregnant woman will require additional ultrasound examinations over the duration of her pregnancy. For example, if you suffer from spotting during pregnancy, your physician may perform an ultrasound to assess the health of both the mother and her baby.
Bottom line, an ultrasound is a noninvasive and low risk procedure. It is mostly comfortable except when the operator needs to apply pressure on the abdomen to produce clearer images of your baby. Talk to your obstetrician today to schedule an ultrasound appointment. You don’t have to wait until the birthday to see your little one’s face these days!
“Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She loves to spend time outdoors when she’s not reading, researching or writing. In her research of this article she found www.obstetriciandaytonabeach.com to be a good resource. Contact her via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”