It goes without saying that pregnancy is one of the most life-changing events in a woman’s life. But before the baby is even born, there are so many things that require planning and learning. What type of delivery do you want to have? What prenatal vitamins do you need to take? How often do you need to see a doctor? And when do you need to schedule ultrasounds?

The list of questions that require answers is infinite, but in today’s blog from UltraCare Diagnostic Imaging, we’re going to cover the ultrasound portion to pregnancy. Having even just this information can relieve some of the weight of responsibility that pregnancy can bring. Knowing about ultrasounds might be helpful for you or your partner, as well as good information in general. Learn about pregnancy ultrasounds, and visit our Soldotna, Juneau, or Anchorage ultrasound clinic for all of your sonographic needs!

The First Ultrasound: 10-14 Weeks

Doctors like to check on you in your first trimester to get an idea of when your due date is. If you’re not entirely sure of the date of conception, that’s OK! Schedule a visit with a doctor or sonographer when you think you’re about 10 to 14 weeks along, or consult with a medical professional to see what they recommend.

During this first visit, an ultrasonographer will give an idea of how far along you are, as well as provide you with an expected due date. Additionally, the first ultrasound is where you’ll find out how many babies you’re having.

As a quick aside—for some women, if you’ve experienced pain or bleeding in the early weeks of your pregnancy, your doctor will likely recommend your first ultrasound around six or seven weeks into your pregnancy. Ten to 14 weeks is normal if everything else has been normal in the early pregnancy stages.

The Second Ultrasound: 18-22 Weeks

In your second trimester, you’re able to get an ultrasound that gives a lot of information about your baby. This is often the ultrasound that determines the baby’s sex (if you would like to know it, that is), and your sonographer can also help you hear the heartbeat. During the second trimester, your baby has developed a great deal from the time of your first ultrasound. You’ll be able to see limbs and its head in much clearer distinction.

With your second ultrasound, your sonographer will take some measurements and begin to look for anything abnormal, such as a cleft lip, or any issues with the spine or heart. While there are a number of medical issues that cannot be determined in the second trimester, the sonographer can get a general overview of your baby’s growth progression and health as a whole.

Additionally, there are different types of ultrasounds that you can receive in your second ultrasound. While there is a standard version, you can also opt for a 3D ultrasound that provides a much higher-resolution photo of the baby. Many expecting parents enjoy this ultrasound, because the images are three-dimensional and super realistic—some families feel even more connected to their child with these enhanced visuals.

Regardless of if you choose a 3D ultrasound or a standard ultrasound, UltraCare Diagnostic Imaging offers both, as well as 4D ultrasound packages. Contact Debbie today to discuss your options!

Gender Reveal

In more recent times, gender reveal parties have skyrocketed in popularity. These parties are a result of information given in the second ultrasound, where those who are expecting reveal to their loved ones the sex of their baby. Many people wonder when they get to find out the sex of their baby; this information comes from having your second trimester ultrasound.

The (Potentially) Third Ultrasound: 28-40 Weeks

Many expecting mothers do not end up having a third ultrasound. If everything looks good in the second trimester, it’s rare to get another follow-up ultrasound. However, if your sonographer and doctor have things they want to check on—based on the information from the second trimester—you’ll more than likely need to schedule a third trimester ultrasound.

This is to check on the baby’s growth, and to look for further diagnosis or prognosis on abnormalities from your second trimester. If you’re expecting twins, you’ll almost certainly end up with a third ultrasound—regardless of if your babies are looking healthy or there’s cause for concern. The sonographer and doctor will want to check on their positioning, as well as the position of your placenta.

Unique Ultrasound Cases

Having two ultrasounds is pretty common, but every pregnancy and every person is different. In certain instances, ultrasounds might be recommended on a more frequent basis throughout the pregnancy—past the standard two (or three) ultrasounds. As SheKnows reports, “Mothers dealing with high blood pressure or diabetes, for example, will likely require regular ultrasounds throughout the entire pregnancy.”

Gestational diabetes is rare, but not uncommon, affecting about seven in 100 women in the United States. This is a form of diabetes that occurs only in pregnancy (and because of pregnancy), and usually goes away once you’re no longer pregnant. It can put your baby at risk for respiratory distress syndrome, as well as excessive birth weight (which can result in complications during delivery).

Women with gestational hypertension (high blood pressure during pregnancy) can be at risk for preeclampsia, a serious condition that can affect expecting mothers. With preeclampsia, your organs are at risk for malfunctioning or shutting down, and babies can also be at risk for low birth weight, among other complications.

With gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension, you will be tested for both, and this will determine if you need more regular ultrasounds. Having a unique pregnancy can be very scary, but the reassuring part comes through ultrasounds. We have the technology and medical knowledge to check on your baby, as little or as much as necessary, throughout those nine months. With Debbie Hazelbaker at your side, you’ll receive the compassion, professionalism, and empathy to guide you along in the ultrasound process.

Our team is entirely dedicated to serving expectant mothers with the best in ultrasound care, which means we are entirely dedicated to you. We have clinics offering ultrasounds in Juneau, Anchorage, and Soldotna, and have proudly served these cities and communities for years. Yet even if you’re in rural Alaska and can’t get to a clinic, we have the means to come to you. Whether you’re very near or very far from UltraCare Diagnostic Imaging, we will do everything we can to get you the pregnancy ultrasounds and medical information you need. Contact our sonographers to schedule your pregnancy ultrasound today, we look forward to working with you!