Ten questions every pregnant woman should ask during her anatomy ultrasound. The doctor is looking for much more than the gender!
Her smile is warm, almost as calming and toasty as the gel she is about to squirt on my belly.
She is the one who has done our prior 20-week ultrasounds. I know, it sounds as if I spend my life being pregnant. Truth be told, I DO have other things to do in my life, but this is our fourth pregnancy.
I “have been there, done that,” but at the same time, I have butterflies in my stomach. Oh wait, it’s a baby in there, not butterflies!
After what happened with our second son, I have made it my mission to learn everything I can about my pregnancies. Granted, there is nothing I could have done (or not have done) to prevent Jordan from getting sick.
However, for my own peace of mind, I need to know everything about my unborn baby – everything.
Our ultrasound tech knows our history. She knows how scared I am and my need to feel empowered by knowledge. She patiently answers the questions she can, and defers the rest to the doctor.
I leave our appointment an hour later feeling elated, refreshed and happier than ever.
Prepare For Your Anatomy Ultrasound
One of the most exciting times during a pregnancy is the anatomy ultrasound – “the big” ultrasound scheduled about halfway through the pregnancy.
It is during this scan that the ultrasound tech more than likely will reveal the gender of the baby, however that is NOT the purpose of the test.
I have compiled a list of ten things the ultrasound tech and the doctor will be looking for during the scan. They may not address all these findings with you, and therefore many moms assume all is well.
I encourage every pregnant woman to ask questions and to be informed about all aspect of her pregnancy. Even if you don’t ASK the questions, knowing what they are looking for empowers you and will ease a worried mind.
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We hope for “within normal ranges” on every measurement, but sometimes there are variations. It is important to know what they mean and when you should seek further testing or answers.
I am passionate about early detection of congenital birth defects, especially heart defects. Knowing ahead of time if your baby has a birth defect, being able to plan the delivery and arrange for the best possible care and treatment ahead of time, can dramatically change the outcome.
Congenital heart defects are unfortunately found in 1 out of every 100 pregnancies, the risk is real and being informed ahead of time will give your baby the best chances.
Ten questions to ask during your anatomy ultrasound:
Questions to ask about mom:
- How is the amniotic fluid level?
- (It should not be too high or too low.)
- Does the umbilical cord have three vessels?
- How does the size and placement of the placenta look?
- How is the size of the cervix?
Questions to ask about the baby:
- Questions about the baby’s heart:
- Does it have four chambers?
- Are the heart and stomach in the correct position?
- (They should be on left side of the fetus.)
- Is the heart rate within the normal range?
- (Normal range for fetus is 120-180 beats per minutes.)
- Does the heart function appear correct for the gestational age?
- (This may be hard to confirm with a regular ultrasound. A fetal echo may be required if there are any concerns.)
- Is the size of the brain and fluid filled areas within normal ranges?
- Does the face have a cleft lip?
- (Cleft palates are hard to detect on an ultrasound.)
- Is the spine in alignment and covered by skin?
- How do the major organs look?
- (Are the size and location of the stomach, two kidneys and bladder within normal ranges?)
- Are there boy or girl parts?
Ultrasound techs are trained not to discuss their findings with you, unless there is a doctor present. Try not to read their facial expressions as they are doing your ultrasound, (although it is hard not to do).
Wait to ask your doctor the questions, after they have reviewed the ultrasound. The doctor will be able to discuss all the findings with you, and hopefully everything is within normal ranges.
For some women, asking these questions is “information overload.” I completely respect and understand their feelings. However, after our experience with our second child, it is important for me to know as much as possible ahead of time.
Remember: “knowledge is power” and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy, knowing that you are already doing a fabulous job as a mom!
Do you find out the gender of the baby, or keep it a surprise?
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