Pregnancy is a beautiful, meaningful stage of womanhood. It allows us to nurture, teach, and invest in another life. Pregnancy also allows us to grow and mature, as we grow in the understanding that another life depends on us.
By definition, pregnancy is the development of one or more offspring, known as an embryo or fetus, in a woman’s uterus. During pregnancy, women get to experience feelings and sensations that are new and exciting; especially in the first trimester.
Most pregnancies last from 37 to 42 weeks, with an average of 40 weeks (280 days). OB-GYN (Obstetric and Gynecology) physicians typically calculate the delivery date at about 40 weeks from the date of conception. These 40 weeks are equally divided into 3 terms which are referred to as the first, second, and third trimesters.
In the first trimester, a woman’s body is rapidly changing and evolving. During this process, it’s important to evaluate and monitor the health of the mother and the fetus for planning, and making informed decisions about care. Ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging technique that uses sound waves to evaluate structures within the body. Because of its safety, availability, and accuracy, ultrasound can be a powerful tool throughout pregnancy. OB-GYN physicians recommend pregnant women undergo ultrasound in the first-trimester for the following reasons:
- Confirm pregnancy
An over the counter pregnancy kit can confirm pregnancy with a high degree of confidence, but these tests are not correct 100% of the time. There are external factors that may affect the result of the test. With an ultrasound, the radiologist can see the physical signs of pregnancy, confirm dating, and assure that the pregnancy is progressing normally.
- Determine the gestational stage and estimate the due date
The due date will be determined more accurately if an OB ultrasound is done during the first trimester as compared to second and third trimester evaluations. This is especially helpful if the last menstrual period date is unknown.
- Check for multiple fetuses
While seeing multiple fetuses in one pregnancy sounds exciting, it also requires a lot of planning for the family and for medical care during the pregnancy. Multiple fetuses require an increase in prenatal visits along with additional considerations for evaluation and monitoring throughout gestation.
- Diagnose an ectopic pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg attaches itself outside of the uterus; the most common place is the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies are dangerous, both for the mother and the fetus. Ultrasound can detect ectopic pregnancies in the first trimester and can help mothers and their OB/GYN physicians make informed decisions about future care.
Trust The Radiology Clinic in Rockville, MD, to provide safe, accurate first trimester ultrasounds. Our knowledgeable team is happy to care for you during this exciting time in your life! Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment at 301-217-0500.