How is an ultrasound performed during pregnancy?

To perform the ultrasound, a technician will rub a thin layer of lubricating jelly on your belly and pass a hand-held instrument called a transducer over it.

Additionally, you may need a transvaginal ultrasound early in your first trimester to confirm your pregnancy or to determine how healthy the pregnancy is if you have been experiencing any bleeding, signs of preterm labor or other risks that require a careful examination of your cervix. This type of ultrasound is similar to the kind of internal exam you get during a Pap smear, only instead of a speculum inserted into your vagina, the ultrasound wand is inserted.

Regardless of which type of ultrasound you have, during the test itself the technician occasionally stops to take ultrasound images, which record the size of certain body parts and other developmental features of the baby. Also, an ultrasound can usually determine if you're carrying more than one baby.

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