Learning that you may be pregnant can be a little daunting. If you are happy about being pregnant, it is an exciting time. But it can be a bit scary if it is an unplanned pregnancy and you are not sure you want to have a baby. But even if you are worried about being pregnant, you should take a deep breath and step back. Don’t panic. You have time to decide what to do. In the meantime, remember that getting pregnant is not a disease. It is a normal and natural process, and your body is uniquely designed to hold and nurture new life.
If you have taken a home pregnancy test, your next step should be to get a medical-grade pregnancy test at a clinic. You can obtain a no-cost lab-quality pregnancy test at Open Arms Real Choices Clinic in Hayden, Idaho. The next step is to get an ultrasound if the lab test confirms your pregnancy.
Why Should I Get an Ultrasound, and What Does it Show?
Nearly everyone has heard of ultrasounds, but only some realize what they are and how they work. A limited obstetric ultrasound is often done as early as six weeks but usually between six and nine weeks. You will be given instructions for your appointment to help the sonographer get a good image, such as drinking a lot of water. The ultrasound process itself should take only about 20 minutes.
Ultrasound tests are non-intrusive diagnostic imaging tests utilized for various medical conditions. For a pregnancy ultrasound, you will lie on an exam table. The technician will put a warm gel over your abdomen and use a probe that glides easily over the gel. The probe emits ultrasonic waves (high-frequency sound waves above the limit humans can detect). The waves reflect off your internal organs, and the machine detects the returning sound waves to create images of what is inside your uterus. Ultrasonic waves are not harmful to either you or the baby in any way.
Obstetricians use ultrasound tests for several purposes. Your baby will be very tiny at this point, so you will not learn a lot about the baby. However, the technician will be able to detect the baby’s location in your uterus, accurately measure the baby’s size, determine if you may have more than one baby, and examine your uterus. This information is important. The doctor can ensure the baby is attached to the placenta in a good location (for example, to rule out an ectopic pregnancy, which is not viable and may be life-threatening). The baby’s size will also give the doctor a very accurate estimate of the baby’s gestational age and projected due date, which can be especially helpful if your periods were irregular before you got pregnant. The doctor can find out if there are any abnormalities in your uterus. You will also hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time.
If you are in the Hayden-Coeur d’Alene area, you can make an appointment at the Open Arms pregnancy resource center for this first scan. As noted above, while these first scans are usually administered at six to nine weeks gestation, notify the clinic if you are experiencing any pain or unusual symptoms or if there is a family history of problematic pregnancies. If so, you may need to have an ultrasound sooner than six weeks.
How Many Ultrasounds Are Needed During Pregnancy?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends having at least one ultrasound, but it’s often helpful to have two. After your first scan, used primarily to confirm the pregnancy and ensure your baby is implanted correctly, you will be offered a second one sometime between weeks 18 and 22. This serves to check all your baby’s organs, make sure you have enough amniotic fluid, verify the position of your placenta, and take various measurements.
This second ultrasound can be very exciting and reassuring, as you can learn how your baby is developing. You will see your baby’s hands, feet, face, and beating heart. The sonographer will ask whether you want to know the baby’s sex. If your pregnancy is going well, you will likely not need additional ultrasounds. However, if your pregnancy encounters any problems, your doctor may order additional ultrasounds as your pregnancy progresses.
Other Low-Cost or No-Cost Services Near Coeur D’Alene
At Open Arms, we believe financial concerns shouldn’t stand in the way of getting good prenatal care. That’s why we offer many services at no cost or very low cost, including an ultrasound. Call or make an appointment directly from our website to access these services. During the first consultation, we might administer a pregnancy test to confirm that you are pregnant. Then, we’ll set up an appointment for your ultrasound.
If you’re struggling with an unplanned pregnancy, you can attend lay counseling or join a support group. We offer LifeSkills classes that can teach you how to communicate effectively, work together with your family and partner, and take excellent care of your baby. Additionally, we have a clothing boutique where you can buy new and used baby items at reasonable prices.
Getting an ultrasound in the first trimester is vital to safeguarding your health and preparing for your baby’s arrival. Call us at Open Arms Real Choices Clinic to book your free ultrasound appointment today.