Ask Sofia: How many ultrasounds should I expect during pregnancy?

Many expecting parents look forward to prenatal ultrasounds—a safe and painless test that shows the baby’s shape and position as well as images of the placenta, amniotic sac and ovaries. Also known as a sonogram, an ultrasound can help confirm your anticipated date of delivery as well as pregnancies outside the uterus, fetal growth rate and multiple pregnancies and record fetal heartbeat and the amount of amniotic fluid.

“Typically, we perform two ultrasounds: the first is around seven or eight weeks of gestational age and the second is the anatomy scan—a chance to potentially learn if you’re having a girl or a boy and determine the health of your baby—around 20 weeks,” said Dr. Jewelia Wagner. “Every patient is different and sometimes medical risk factors, such as diabetes, hypertension, maternal weight and fetal growth issues, can call for additional ultrasounds.”

To prepare for your first prenatal ultrasound, you might be asked to drink extra fluid and avoid going to the bathroom so that your bladder is full. You will lie back on a table and a sonographer will spread a water-based gel on your abdomen and pelvis, which helps transmit sound waves. Your sonographer will move a handheld wand called a transducer over your abdomen; the sound waves create a picture of your developing baby on the ultrasound machine. Some women may have a transvaginal ultrasound earlier in pregnancy for a better view of the ovaries and uterus.

“An ultrasound is your first chance to see your baby developing, which is pretty amazing!” Dr. Wagner added. “If you have questions or concerns about ultrasounds or anything else related to your pregnancy, we are here for you.”

Clinic Sofia is proud to be certified by the American Institute of Ultrasound (AIUM), which entails extensive training and a two-year recertification process—demonstrating  that Clinic Sofia meets or exceeds nationally recognized standards in performing and interpreting diagnostic ultrasound exams.


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We use Fairview Southdale Hospital and Maple Grove Hospital for labor, delivery and surgical procedures.


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