Typically, an ultrasound is going to be done anytime within the first trimester of pregnancy.  Frequently, ultrasounds during pregnancy will be done externally with a transabdominal approach; it could be required to complete the ultrasound.  Most often in the first trimester a transvaginal ultrasound, a wand coated with gel and a condom is set in the vagina to permit for visualization of the baby.  When a transabdominal ultrasound is done, the bladder usually must be full to obtain the best view of their uterus, ovaries along with the baby.

How the Test is Performed

You may experience some discomfort from pressure on a full bladder.  The conducting gel may feel slightly cold and wet. You won’t feel the ultrasound waves.

You will have to have a full bladder to acquire the best ultrasound picture.  You could be asked to drink 2 to 3 glasses of liquid an hour before the test.

How to Get Ready for the Test

The individual performing the test will spread a transparent, water-based gel or lotion onto your belly and pelvis area.  A probe will then be transferred over the stomach. The gel helps transmit sound waves. These waves bounce off the entire body structures, including the developing baby, to create an image on the ultrasound device.

To have the process:

Sometimes, a pregnancy ultrasound may be done by placing the probe to the vagina; this is much more likely in early pregnancy. Many women will have the length of the cervix measured by ultrasonography about 20 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

First trimester ultrasounds are done for various reasons including:

To accurately date your pregnancy to determine how far along you are, evaluate the size of the baby and qualities of the infant’s gestational sac, for example, dimensions and appearance. Occasionally, the gestational sac can be viewed as early as 5 weeks gestation. Detect the heartbeat, which may be early as 5-7 weeks gestation. Verify that the baby is growing within the uterus rather than in another structure such as the fallopian tube assess the presence of numerous infants, particularly in women who failed IVF or other assistive fertility remedies.   

Make sure to speak with your physician or midwife about your ultrasound requirements.  

Your doctor may recommend ultrasounds in some instances, primarily if your pregnancy is categorized as insecure, or whether you are undergoing processes such as chorionic villus sampling, an amniocentesis translucency screening, and biophysical profiles.

If you get an ultrasound during 8 to 11 weeks, it will show your growing baby, which during this time has recognizable features such as the body, arms, head, and thighs, and is moving relatively quickly within the gestational sac.  

If your ultrasound is performed between 6- and five-weeks’ gestation, you will likely only be able to observe the gestational and yolk sacs.   The yolk sac allows your doctor or midwife to confirm your pregnancy, although the infant may not be recognizable yet.