The test came back positive and you’re going to be a new mom! Finding out your pregnant is an exciting. From finding out the gender to seeing your new bundle of joy for the first time, you’re on an emotional roller coaster for nine glorious months.

Prenatal care begins the moment you discover that you are pregnant. Routine doctor visits and ultrasound examination are all part of the process. But what exactly does an ultrasound do?

What Is It a Prenatal Ultrasound?

A prenatal ultrasound is a noninvasive test that utilizes sound waves to create a visual image of your baby, uterus, as well as other pelvic organs. It allows your physician to gather important information about your baby’s health and gestational age.

How Is an Ultrasound Performed?

There are two types of sonograms: transabdominal and transvaginal. During the examination, an ultrasound technician uses a Doppler to transmit high-frequency waves, which create images of your baby’s body, position and movements.

Some physicians perform ultrasounds in the first trimester, while others wait until the halfway mark, which is around 16 to 20 weeks gestation. It’s at this time where you may learn the sex of your baby. The sonographer will also give you a printout of the ultrasound to have as a keepsake.

Transvaginal sonograms are typically performed when better visualization is needed. It doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem, but particularly with twins, this type of ultrasound helps your doctor determine the gestational age and viability of both babies.

What Information Does an Ultrasound Reveal?

During your ultrasound, the sonographer will measure your baby’s skull, abdominal girth and leg length. By doing so, they can determine if your baby is the right size for gestational age. If it’s your first ultrasound and your baby’s size doesn’t correlate with your expected due date, it’s possible that your due date is incorrect. Based on your baby’s new measurements, your physician can then tell you the new due date. If there are any concerns, your physician may order a repeat examination to check on your baby’s progress.

Verify Multiples

Most women who are carrying more than one baby will measure larger in their first trimester. Having a portable ultrasound can confirm multiples and again measure their growth.

Confirm the Location of the Placenta?

Your sonographer will also verify the location of your placenta. If your placenta is covering your cervix, you could experience problems later in your pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses, your physician will most likely order follow-up sonograms to verify the position of your placenta.

Prenatal ultrasounds not only give you a first look at your unborn child but can detect medical problems early on. If found, the first thing you need to do is remain calm. Early detection is the first line of treatment of ensuring a safe delivery.