What to expect at your first ultrasound

Ultrasound; it isn’t just a medically necessary procedure it is an opportunity to meet your unborn/s for the very first time.   It is recommended by the American Congress of obstetricians and gynecologists that all expectant mothers get an ultrasound in the first trimester. Most expectant mothers undergo this routine test at 6 to 8 weeks. During the procedure You may feel extreme joy or absolute dread the moment you see that beating heart inside your womb; some even experience both. Going blank is not uncommon either; the experience is unique, it is the first time you get to see your future baby, or babies.

Complications such as an ectopic pregnancy may be found and this is one reason why having your partner with you or someone supportive, is a good idea; having someone to share the joy and relief of a thumbs up from your OBGYN is also amazing.

How and why is an ultrasound done?

This procedure will determine your estimated due date, confirm your baby’s heartbeat, rule out an ectopic pregnancy, as well as determine the number of fetuses and other important health related concerns.

First off, some technicalities. During an ultrasound, a plastic transducer is used to transmit high frequency sound waves through your uterus which send back signals that convert into images of your baby.

Whilst this first ultrasound is usually done transvaginally, you should only expect some slight pressure rather than pain. At your appointment, you will be asked to lie on your back and a vaginal probe is inserted to view your uterus through the cervix.

Your Dream is now becoming a reality! BE WARNED you will feel a wide range of emotions 🙂 

Determine your estimated due date

Pregnancy can turn out to be quite the alphabet soup with all the acronyms it involves. At your first ultrasound, you will very probably be questioned on your LMP and EDD. LMP stands for Last Menstrual Period, that is the first day of your last period before the pregnancy; EDD is your Estimated Due Date. During this first ultrasound, your baby is measured from crown to rump to determine gestational age. The EDD will become the holy grail of all dates, particularly when you’re wobbling about in the last weeks of pregnancy.

Confirm Heartbeat

The first ultrasound is the first glimpse into life within. Seeing your baby on the screen, observing its movements, and confirming the heartbeat has the potential of making all pregnancy discomforts feel worthwhile. Yes, that little bean is why you’re throwing up around the clock.

Ruling out an Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy can be a scary experience to go through but with a timely diagnosis, a subsequent healthy pregnancy is very much possible. 

An ectopic pregnancy happens when the embryo implants in the fallopian tube or someplace else other than your uterus. The first ultrasound determines the pregnancy’s location and rules out any abnormalities in this regard.



Pro Tip, a full bladder improves the visibility of your baby; since the bladder is full of liquid the ultrasound can see through it unlike the bowel which has solids; a full bladder pushes the bowel out of the way.


Determine the number of fetuses

It’s completely understandable if you walk to your first ultrasound fearing the great unknown: unexpected multiples can be quite the surprise – and a handful! 

Luckily for us, the number of babies can be detected early on in pregnancy, unlike in the past where multiples were a surprise for the birthing room!

One, two, three or more; you’ll love them all.

Your dream, your journey, your baby!


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