What To Expect At Your First Ultrasound

Ultrasound, also known as sonography, is a noninvasive imaging test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create two-dimensional images of internal organs, tissues, and other body structures. Besides showing pictures of tissues or organs, ultrasound also shows body parts such as the blood vessels in motion. Unlike x-rays, ultrasound doesn't require radiation.

There are two ultrasound categories: diagnostic and pregnancy ultrasounds.

Doctors use diagnostic ultrasound to give information about internal organs to see their condition. Internal organs that require an ultrasound to understand their state are the liver, heart, bladder, blood vessel, female reproductive organs, and kidneys.

On the other hand, pregnancy ultrasound is used to study the unborn child. This test gives information about the fetus's development, growth, and overall health.

What To Expect At Your First Ultrasound

Most ultrasounds centers, including Ultrasound Center in Midland TX, provides different ultrasound services. Given that there are different types of ultrasounds, each might consist of distinct procedures. However, there are common things a patient should expect from any ultrasound. To be more enlightened, let's first take a look at some things to expect from different ultrasounds;  

First Pregnancy Ultrasound

The following are things that you should only expect from your first pregnancy ultrasound:

  • The healthcare provider will confirm if you're pregnant and for how long;
  • You'll know if you're carrying more than one baby;
  • The doctor will check the position and the size of the fetus;
  • The doctor will check for congenital disabilities of your child in the spinal cord, brain, heart, and other organs;
  • The health provider will check for signs of Down syndrome, which is characterized by thickening of the baby's neck from the back;
  • The doctor will also check the amount of amniotic fluid. It is a clear fluid that surrounds the baby during pregnancy. Amniotic fluid protects the baby against external injury and cold. It also promotes lung and bone development.

First Diagnostic Ultrasound

As earlier said, diagnostic ultrasound is used to check if the body's internal organs are working correctly and, if not, what could be the cause. In most diagnostic ultrasounds, the health practitioner places the transducer on the skin to determine the problem. Nevertheless, some cases, such as checking or examining the vagina or rectum, require the probe's insertion in the patient's body.

When it comes to diagnostic ultrasounds, what to expect depends on the kind of ultrasound you require. For instance:

  • In a kidney or renal ultrasound, expect the doctor to examine your organ's size, shape, and location. This ultrasound will help the doctor detect tumors, infections, cysts, or obstructions in and around the kidneys.
  • In abdominal ultrasound, the doctor will move the probe across the belly's midsection skin to determine the cause of abdominal pain.
  • In a transvaginal ultrasound, the health care provider will insert the probe into your vaginal canal to help them study your ovaries and uterus. This test is also known as pelvic ultrasound since it evaluates organs in the pelvis.
  • For breast ultrasound, the doctor will perform a noninvasive ultrasound to identify cysts and breast lumps. This test is recommended after an abnormal mammogram.
  • In transrectal ultrasound, the health care provider will insert a probe transducer inside your rectum to examine the rectum and the surrounding tissue, such as the prostate, in individuals assigned male at birth.

Every ultrasound requires a different procedure. Therefore, what to expect might vary from one ultrasound to another. Nevertheless, these are some general steps you should expect during any ultrasound:

  • You'll lie comfortably, exposing the area to be examined;
  • The doctor will spread a unique gel on the skin of the section to be examined;
  • The doctor will use a wand-like device known as a transducer over the area;
  • The device will send waves to your body, but you won't hear them;
  • The waves are recorded and changed into images on a screen;
  • You'll be able to see the two-dimensional pictures as they're made, especially during pregnancy ultrasound;
  • After completing the test, your doctor will wipe the gel off your skin;
  • The test usually takes up to 60 minutes to complete.


An ultrasound is a painless procedure to examine your internal organs or unborn baby. As a first-timer, you might feel anxious if you aren't aware of its process. Fortunately, the above information will give you a glimpse of what to expect during different ultrasounds. Be calm and cooperate during the exam to help the doctor get clear images and figure out your health issue for a successful treatment.

Also, adhere to the doctor's guidelines regarding the preparations for your ultrasound. For instance, some ultrasounds, such as endoscopy, require fasting for some hours before the test for clear and confident images.