9 Questions You Can Ask During Your Baby’s Ultrasound
This information is provided for educational purposes only. Always consult with your pregnancy care provider for your own prenatal care.
If you're approaching the halfway point of your pregnancy, you may be getting excited about getting to see your baby on the ultrasound screen. Most pregnant women and couples have an ultrasound around 18 to 20 weeks to check on the baby's development and identify any potential problems.
Many women also use the anatomical ultrasound, of course, to check on their baby's gender if they haven't found it out already. But as exciting as it can be to find out your baby's gender, the main point of the ultrasound is to not answer the question of “Boy” or “Girl,” but to answer the question of: how is the baby developing and where do we go from here?
There are a lot of big questions that are answered during that ultrasound and it can be overwhelming to wonder if your baby is going to be OK. Despite the excitement you might be feeling at getting a peek at your little one, chances are, you're probably feeling a little (or a lot) nervousness too.
Because there is so much at stake during that ultrasound, it can be a scary appointment to walk into. And to make matters even worse, ultrasound techs–the people responsible for doing the majority of the ultrasounds during pregnancy–legally cannot tell a woman if everything is OK during the ultrasound. Instead, the tech is only able to alert the doctor if there is an issue, leaving the expectant parent or parents to wonder what's going on and if their baby is going to be OK.
We all know that the tech can't answer direct questions such as “Is my baby OK?” or “Does everything look normal?” but still, there may be some questions that the tech can answer during the ultrasound that can clue a well-informed mama into her baby's health and development. For example, a Facebook page called Save the Heartbeat recently shared a series of posts that listed questions that an expectant mother or parents could ask during the ultrasound to know if the baby looks healthy and normal. Although the questions don't directly ask, “Is everything OK?” they are questions that can pinpoint a problem if it does exist.
And again, while there is no guarantee that the ultrasound tech will be able to answer those questions either, it may help you to prepare with some knowledge of what they will be looking for before you enter the ultrasound room. And even more specifically, they may help identify and screen for a potential heart defect, which can affect up to 1 in 125 babies. Here are some questions to ask during your ultrasound that can help you understand if there may be a potential problem with your baby:
1. Do you see all 4 chambers of the heart?
2. Are the heart and other organs in the proper position?
3. Are the valves functioning with adequate flow?
4. Are the blood vessels intact and normal-sized?
5. Is the heart muscle squeezing well?
6. Is the heart rate and rhythm normal?
7. Do you perform a 3-vessel view?
8. Are the cardio structures connected normally?
9. Do you see any abnormal pockets of fluids or other signs of compromised circulation flow?
As many of the commenters on Save the Heartbeat's post mentioned, asking specific, targeted questions such as these may even help an ultrasound tech or doctor identify a heart defect that they might have otherwise missed. Defects can be hard to detect in-utero, so knowing what to look for is the first step. “I wish I had known to ask these questions,” wrote one mother on the post. “Apparently the technician couldn’t visualize everything and requested that I come back 4 weeks later for a repeated scan . Next scan I was told everything was fine. 6 weeks later I delivered 4 weeks early with a precious baby girl who was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot 💔. She’s repaired and doing well now but I wish I’d known earlier.”
Of course, there is no guarantee that asking these questions will pick up on all of the potential problems that may go wrong during your pregnancy or that the ultrasound tech will be able or willing to answer them either. But being aware of what to look for during your baby's ultrasound may help you have some peace of mind before your appointment.
Do you plan on asking any questions during your baby's ultrasound?