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First Trimester Ultrasound Visits.
Some doctors prefer to combine a monthly scheduled meeting with the ultrasound session whilst others will ask for a separate meeting. Depending on your location,
What is an ultrasound scan?
A transducer is put in contact with the woman's abdomen and VHF sound waves (at about 5 Megahertz) are used by the ultrasound transducer to create an image on a monitor screen from the information collected when they rebound.
Ultrasound scanners can be used for many purposes during a pregnancy including:
Assessment of early pregnancy.
Close monitoring of women with a history of miscarriage.
Determination of placenta position.
Determination of multiple pregnancies.
Gestational age determination.
Checks on foetal growth.
Amniotic fluid levels.
Confirmation of the presentation position at birth.
How is it done?
There are two ways that a scan can be done. Either with a transducer placed on the outside of the belly or with a specially shaped transducer that goes inside the vagina. The clearer images are usually made from inside. This transvaginal scan is usually only used at the first scan, after this the external transducer is normally preferred unless an anomaly is being researched.
What can you see?
The first thing the man sees is a long piece of plastic being covered in a male contraceptive rubber, then smothered in jelly and pushed into his partner's vagina. The first thought is "God! isn't that thing cold?".
Some women choose to opt for the external scan only. They should not normally be pressured into accepting the internal version unless there is a genuine concern of anomalies existing.
What you actually see on the screen depends on the equipment being used. Most scanners provide a black and white image in "real-time" that can be frozen as a snapshot picture. Many also incorporate a Doppler device to record the heartbeat. The latest devices produce 3D images after a few seconds and are becoming more widely available all the time. For the most of us, the image quality is not great at the present so you will probably need your doctor to point out the various bits and pieces.
During the first scan, the gestational sac can be seen as well as the foetus and a heartbeat. If the first scan is after 10 weeks for you, then you may be able to spot little arms and legs.
If the you have a scan between 8 and 14 weeks, measurements may be taken to help determine the gestational age. These include the diameter across the head, the length of the femur, the length from the head to base of spine and the circumference of the abdomen.
"What was amazing for us during our second scan at 10 weeks was how much our baby was moving around! She didn't stop spinning and punching and kicking yet my wife could feel nothing."
This picture shows a six week old embryo using a transvaginal scan and a Doppler reading of the heartbeat of 138 beats per minute.
1. Doctor visits during the 1st trimester
2. 1st trimester ultrasound appointments
3. Doctor visits during the 2nd trimester
4. 2nd trimester ultrasound scan - Part 1
5. 2nd trimester ultrasound scan - Part 2
6. 2nd trimester ultrasound scan - Part 3
7. Doctor visits during the 3rd trimester
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