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Getting An Ultrasound in the First Trimester

The first trimester ultrasound can be performed as early as your fifth week of pregnancy, but that is usually only in cases where ruling out an ectopic pregnancy is extremely important.  Generally, the first trimester ultrasound is conducted approximately during your tenth week.   This can be largely dependant upon your doctor and your specific case.  So what can you expect when you have your first trimester ultrasound?

Even though there are up to seven types of ultrasounds, the most common remain to be the vaginal ultrasound and abdominal ultrasound. The vaginal ultrasound or transvaginal ultrasound is actually used most frequently if the patient is 12 weeks pregnant or less. This procedure must be performed with an empty bladder. This combined with the obvious "up close and personal" method, gives the sonograph technician a better view of the uterus and what it contains. The main difference between the two techniques is how the transvaginal routine enables them to spot a low lying placenta and also allows for a good view of your cervix. This means is most necessary if you have a 'tipped' or retroverted uterus, which simply means its slanted back towards the spine instead of forward towards the bladder (only twenty percent of women are said to have this); they like to check for this because it can sometimes cause fertility issues.

Seeing Your Baby For the First Time

The abdominal ultrasound must be conducted with a full bladder, leaving you quite distracted at some points during this very exciting memory in the making. However, this makes it much easier to see your baby, so it is well worth it! This procedure is done on the outside of the belly using lubricant gel and an ultrasound probe.

Is It Too Early to Determine the Sex?

At this point in your pregnancy, it is too early to determine the sex of the baby, that won't come until about you are about eighteen to twenty weeks pregnant; but, having your first ultrasound is more about testing and screening for different factors that indicate the level of health and development of the child. Ultrasound findings first trimester are as follows:

  • Exact gestational age- Up until this point, your pregnancy due date is based on the first day of your last normal period. The first trimester ultrasound is able to give a much more accurate timeline.
  • The embryo at ten weeks; at this point it is measured at about 3 cm.
  • An established heartbeat.
  • Combined with other means of testing, the ultrasound findings first trimester are meant to determine if there are any abnormalities in the child, e.g. Down syndrome. They can determine this through blood tests and a certain procedure involved during the actual ultrasound. See the "Prenatal Genetic Testing" article for more information.
  • And lastly, to check for the presence of multiple embryos.

Nothing is more precious and exciting than the first trimester ultrasound. It is such an amazing experience to see the life that you helped create, right there on the screen beside you. Technology is remarkable in all its advancements; and makes you so appreciative, as it allows you to connect with your unborn child, months and months before they even enter this world.

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