woman and ultrasound scan

How to Prepare for Your Big Ultrasound

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Your anatomy ultrasound is an exciting time. You finally get a chance to see the baby growing inside you … and learning whether you’re having a boy or a girl comes on this day as well.

What can you do to prepare for the ultrasound and what can you expect?

You will need to consume a certain amount of fluid so your bladder is full. Depending on the type of ultrasound you’ll be having, you need to avoid urinating beforehand. Your healthcare provider will give you specific instructions prior to the fetal ultrasound.

There are two types of fetal ultrasounds and they’re performed based on what stage of pregnancy you are in.

Transabdominal Ultrasound

This procedure of ultrasound is done with a transducer — a small hand-held device that sends and receives sound waves — over the abdomen. The transabdominal ultrasound is usually done during the later stage of pregnancy. Be sure to wear loose-fitting clothing so it is easy to expose your abdomen for the ultrasound.

A transabdominal ultrasound is fairly simple as you’ll recline on an exam table and expose your abdomen. A special gel will be applied to your abdomen by your doctor or ultrasonographer.

The gel facilitates the conduction of sound waves and eliminates air between your skin and the transducer — which is the small device that sends out sound waves and receives those that bounce back.

Your doctor or ultrasonographer will motion the transducer back-and-forth over your abdominal area. The sound waves reflected off your baby and other tissues will transfer into images on a monitor.

It depends on the baby’s size and position as to how much you will see in an ultrasound. You might be able to see face, hands, fingers, arms, and legs. Ultrasound images can sometimes be difficult to decipher and your healthcare provider can help analyze what’s on the screen.

Your baby’s anatomy will be measured by the doctor or ultrasonographer. Images will be stored and copies will be printed out – and a set will be printed for you! This is the fun part after watching your baby on a monitor.

Transvaginal Ultrasound
A wand-like transducer is inserted in the vagina to send out sound waves and records the reflections. This type of ultrasound is used most often during early pregnancy, when the uterus and pregnancy are closer to the vagina than to the abdominal surface.

The procedure for a transvaginal ultrasound will likely require you to change into a hospital gown or undress from the waist down. Like the transabdominal ultrasound, you’ll be reclined on an exam table, but your feet will be placed in foot rests. Instead of a lubricated transducer moving across your abdomen, it will be placed in your vagina by the doctor or ultrasonographer.

Following the fetal exam, be sure to wipe off any remaining gel or lubricant. At that point, you can urinate if you had a full bladder.

The doctors at Pacific Women’s Center in Eugene have years of experience conducting fetal ultrasounds for their patients. The experts at Oregon’s best women’s health center happy to guide you through the process and give you all the information you need. Call us today and ask how we can help.