I love an ultrasound, and luckily for me, so did my doctor. She kept the machine in her office, and happily booted it up on the first visit. Seeing that little creature floating in her fuzzy world was my favorite part of pregnancy, but not every OB-GYN takes a sonogram early or often. Do you get an ultrasound at your first prenatal visit? If not, can you request one?
According to Baby Center, providers are increasingly offering ultrasounds as early as six to 10 weeks. Dr. Seth Plancher, MD, of Garden City Obstetrics, is in favor of the trend, for a simple reason — the earlier you get your ultrasound, the more precise your due date. He explains to Romper:
"A lot of doctors — and I hear about this from other patients — won’t do an ultrasound until eight weeks or nine weeks along, and I think exactly the opposite. I like to see people at six weeks, because I can get a really accurate crown-rump length, putting you within a few days of the due date every time."
An accurate due date helps doctors keep track of your baby's growth, and is crucial in scheduling a C-section or induction. Early ultrasounds also alert doctors to potential problems. Ectopic pregnancies, a miscarriage, and twins can all be detected before your pregnancy is two months old.
Plancher strongly recommends being proactive about your first scan. "Hearing a heartbeat changes everything," he explains, "And your risk of miscarriage decreases drastically . . . To me, early ultrasounds are instrumental to managing pregnancies, but it’s not really standard and I don’t know why."
There's no harm in making an informed request. I didn't know any of this when I had my early ultrasound — I just lucked out. I remember hearing the heartbeat, and seeing the snowy white dot. And I remember a feeling of joy and relief — not a bad note to start out on. But if your healthcare provider doesn't mention an ultrasound, feel free to ask and explain why. Chances are, they'll be willing to boot up the machine.