Learn More About Your Pregnancy
An ultrasound (also called a sonogram) is a prenatal test that uses sound waves to show a picture of your baby in your uterus. It lets your provider check on your baby’s health and development including:
- Baby’s age and growth. This helps your provider figure out your due date.
- Baby’s heartbeat, muscle tone, and movement.
- Baby’s overall development.
- If there are multiples (twins, triplets, or more).
- Birth defects, like spina bifida or Down syndrome.
- Pregnancy complications, including miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.
Ultrasounds are safe for you and your baby when done by your health care provider. Because ultrasounds use sound waves instead of radiation, they are safer than X-rays. Providers have used ultrasound for more than 30 years, and they have not found any dangerous risks.
Most women get an ultrasound at 18 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. You may get a first-trimester ultrasound (called an early ultrasound) to confirm that you’re pregnant and calculate your due date.
An ultrasound can be a fun time in pregnancy because you can “see” your baby! Depending on when it’s done, you may be able to see your baby’s hands, legs and other body parts. You may also be able to tell if your baby is a boy or a girl, so be sure to tell your provider if you don’t want to know!