Caretaking for Loved Ones: A Health and Medical Blog

Common Questions About Ultrasounds During Pregnancy

Ultrasounds are one of the most common medical check-ups you will have during your pregnancy for several reasons. Firstly, it is noninvasive and immediate in the results, i.e. you can see what is happening straight away. It also allows direct vision of the baby and the surrounding soft tissue and organs, which is very helpful for obstetricians and other medical professionals who might have a hunch about a problem or issue you could be facing and want first-hand evidence. If you are pregnant and are wondering what is going to happen to you during your pregnancy ultrasounds, then you have probably asked these three questions yourself at some point, so here are some answers.

Is It Bad To Have Too Many Ultrasounds?

Ultrasounds work in the same way as sonar does, by using the reverberation of soundwaves through the body to paint a picture of what is beneath the surface of your skin. That might sound scary, but the reality is that you won't feel these sound waves, nor hear them, and comprehensive scientific studies have shown there is no long-term effect of having ultrasounds done. While X-rays use tiny amounts of radiation that can be bad for you in repeated doses (which is why doctors and nurses stand behind protective shields), ultrasounds do not use anything remotely dangerous at all, and it is perfectly safe for you and the baby. 

Why Can't They Find The Baby?

If you went for an ultrasound very early on in relation to your pregnancy, diagnosis then the answer is simple: your baby is probably too small! That is perfectly normal, and many practitioners will actually use a special type of ultrasound, known as a transvaginal ultrasound, to get a more accurate reading for very new babies. This will only be necessary if there are some hereditary or known risks associated with your pregnancy, which is the reason why you would be having such an early ultrasound; otherwise, most get ultrasounds well after the baby is big enough to be picked up by a normal ultrasound.

What Does The Ultrasound Show?

While it might not look like a lot of detail on the screen, ultrasounds give obstetricians a lot of information about the baby and your general health. They can tell you how the baby is developing, whether it is active, what gender it is, how fast its little heart is beating and so on. It can also give an important health update on the mother, such as how the internal organs are responding to what can be quite an intensive few months of life, and whether or not they are developing any reactions such as cysts. The simple way to find out what the ultrasound shows, however, is to simply ask! Your obstetrician will be happy to explain what's happening on screen.