WHEN TO HAVE FIRST SCAN?. Every stage of pregnancy is beautiful in its own way. A lot of suspense comes with pregnancy since all you see is your tummy growing larger and hopefully your face glowing some more. What happens on the inside remains a mystery since you only have the theoretical explanation.
The excitement can get unbearable that you start thinking of an ultrasound. An ultrasound will give you a great first meeting with the baby! It will probably also help you calm down since it is also used to check if there are any problems with your pregnancy.
Ideally a first scan is scheduled after 7 or 8 weeks of pregnancy. This is because your baby’s heartbeat can be detected after this time. Her physique is also better developed to be viewed on a sonogram at this age. If you go early you may leave disappointed and worried since the chances of getting a heartbeat and a visual are very slim.
The most common ultrasound is mid-pregnancy, which is around 20 weeks. Most of the baby’s features are developed at this stage and the doctor takes a sonogram (the freeze frame photo of the baby) so that they can be better able to take the baby’s measurements so as to determine whether she is growing properly.
This is usually abdominal. The doctor applies a chilly jelly on your tummy and then places a transducer (looks like a microphone) on the jelly and moves it around to get different views of the baby.
An early scan comes in handy when there is a risk of the baby developing any birth defects or if you are at risk as well because of a previous condition during pregnancy like placenta previa. A sonogram during the first trimester may have to be vaginal since the baby is not easy to see from the abdomen at this stage.
If you are uncomfortable about it being vaginal you can postpone it, ask for a female doctor (or whichever takes your fancy) or carry a close friend along for moral support. It may cause a little pressure but it is virtually harmless.
You may not even need an ultrasound if your pregnancy is going smoothly and you are considered low risk. Most doctors actually recommend scans if there are very valid medical reasons.
Some women may just want to know the baby’s sex but it is not an assurance that you’ll find out. Who knows, the baby’s hand could be covering the genitals at that time!