The only reason to get an ultrasound is to determine the gender of the baby. There’s absolutely no other reason to have an ultrasound before or after that, right? Wrong. Experience says that ultrasounds in the first trimester are equally as telling and important, and ignoring the medical necessity is a bad idea. One would probably be quite surprised to learn how much an ultrasound from the first trimester, known as “the dating ultrasound”, can tell. First and foremost, as implied by the name of the ultrasound, the child’s birthday. This, as well as much more information is available in the first trimester, which we will discuss in the following article.
The five reasons are as follows:
- A close approximation of the child’s birthday
- Are you expecting twins, or even triplets?
- Birth defects
- Is there a chance of an ectopic pregnancy?
- Measure the baby’s growth rate over the course of several scans
The first reason, the estimation of the child’s birthday, is particularly important. Doctors need to know when it’s appropriate to schedule future appointments and scans based on the baby’s approximate age. Certain tests can only be performed within certain timeframes like, for example, the assessment of your baby’s risk for Down’s syndrome. This test is performed between 11 and 13 weeks plus 6 days. The doctor will also have a benchmark date for your next ultrasound, which will likely be around 20 weeks unless there were abnormal results or another ultrasound was specifically requested. Another good reason to know the baby’s age is to prepare for the birth. An estimate might be given, but the ultrasound takes the baby’s cranial measurements and can be extremely accurate. You will likely get an estimated due date down to the day.
Another good reason to have an ultrasound before the second trimester is to determine if there’s more than one baby. Having twins or triplets can be somewhat intimidating, but it’s certainly the kind of thing one should know as early as possible. Knowing this will provide the opportunity to purchase multiple cribs, multiple sets of clothes, etc. Knowing how many children there are is also something a doctor or a midwife should be informed of. It’s a complication, albeit a minor one, but caregivers certainly need to be informed of the entire situation to give the best possible care to the patient. Finally, of course, seeing your child is an extremely exciting experience.
Next, first trimester ultrasounds can determine whether there are any birth defects present. The most devastating, painful news one could hear is that there’s a complication of some sort. During this time, doctors can typically tell if there’s a chance of ectopic pregnancy, and they can ensure that the growth rate is normal. The doctors will also be able to tell if the placenta and baby’s positioning is correct. These are all valid concerns, but the doctors can take appropriate action to rectify the situation in the efforts to give you and the baby the safest, easiest birth possible.
In conclusion, there’s certainly a great deal of interesting and useful information one can get from ultrasound procedures before the second trimester. Knowing that the baby is healthy and growing is certainly a good reason to follow through with the appointment, not to mention the knowledge of how many children there will be. One might argue that this appointment is even more telling than the gender appointment.
This post was written for Mummy Alarm by Glenn Josephik. Glenn is an account representative and the marketing coordinator at MedCorp LLC, the industry leader and premier business source for used ultrasound systems. You can follow Glenn on Google+ Glenn Josephik.
Image credits: Andrew Malone,