The fourth prenatal appointment typically occurs between the 18h and 20th week of pregnancy. In my experience, most expecting couples look forward to this appointment the most. The reason for this anticipation is the anatomic scan, also called an ultrasound.
It must be noted that some doctor’s offices will administer an ultrasound earlier in the pregnancy (around 12 weeks) to determine the expected delivery date and confirm a healthy pregnancy. However, the ultrasound conducted after 18 weeks of pregnancy tends to reveal more information, including the sex of the baby or babies.
How an Ultrasound Works
Using what’s called a transducer either in the vagina or over the abdomen, the device converts sound waves into images of your uterus and growing baby. These images can be viewed on a computer or television screen in the room during the ultrasound. The process is painless and typically lasts about 20 minutes.
The Reasons for Conducting an Ultrasound
- See that baby is growing on track and positioned correctly
- Listen to the baby’s heartbeat
- Confirm estimated delivery date
- Determine if you are having multiples
- Diagnose or check for a potential problem such as a birth defect
- Look for reassurance that you will not go into preterm labor. Measuring your cervix helps to rule out this possibility.
- Check the placenta location and the amount of amniotic fluid
- Determine the baby’s sex
Should You Find Out the Sex of Your Baby?
No doctor can answer this question for you—determining the sex of your baby is a personal choice. The excitement, the need to plan, and the hope that knowing the sex will help you bond with baby better are all excellent reasons for determining the sex. However, there’s rarely a medical reason to find out the sex of your baby.
It must be noted that not every ultrasound is successful in revealing a baby’s sex. If the genitals are not obvious, then the technician or doctor may not be able to determine the sex. It’s also possible to predict that the baby is a girl, when in reality it is a boy.
This is the seventh article in a series of articles that discuss what Connecticut moms-to-be can expect in prenatal care. Check back regularly for more information.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Garofalo, call 203.855.3535 or visit us at Garofalo Obgyn Connecticut website.