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3 Tips for Your First Big Ultrasound

The first big ultrasound is absolutely exciting. You likely had an ultrasound in the first few weeks of pregnancy, perhaps a vaginal one, to determine the position and size of your little one, but now at around 20 weeks, you're ready for the big ultrasound. For most parents, the ultrasound is to determine that the baby is healthy and find the answer to that that all important question – is this a boy or girl? But for the ultrasound technician and your doctor, the ultrasound is much more complex and that can be confusing or even scary for potential parents. Making it through the first ultrasound is much easier if you know what to expect.

You and Your Full Bladder
Most of the time, you're asked to drink a bottle of water before the ultrasound appointment so that you have a full bladder. But then more often than not, you'll have to wait at least thirty minutes making that full bladder very

uncomfortable – especially for a pregnant woman used to going when you need to go. So instead of guzzling water before you leave for the appointment, sip it on the way there and chug the rest in the parking lot. In the thirty minutes you likely have to wait before the appointment begins, you'll be more comfortable and still have something in your bladder when you need it. The full bladder helps them to see parts of the baby more clearly.

The Quiet Technician
That first ultrasound is anxiety producing enough without the silent technician. For you, this is the most exciting moment of pregnancy – you're getting to really see your baby for the first time. For the technician, this is another task to do during the day. These medical employees are usually very pleasant and warm, but your technician is supposed to be taking critical pictures of the baby – not chatting it up with you. You might notice she seems strangely quiet as she does her job and might not even share what she's seeing. This is deliberate. She is not a doctor and can't tell you things that might land everyone in a lawsuit. So just watch the screen carefully and ask general questions if you're confused, but not too often – is that a hand? Are we looking at her back now? Fill your time counting little fingers and toes since the technician might not be able to even tell you if those look correct.

Hot Dogs and Hamburgers
Some medical practices are so nervous about lawsuits they won't even tell you definitively if you're having a boy or a girl. They will give you a strange percentage, i.e. There's an 80% chance this is a girl. Rather than leaving it up to confusing statistics, look for the anatomy for confirmation. Little boys have what looks like a hot dog when viewed from below – a longer part between two smaller "buns." The little girls have what resembles a tiny hamburger – three little lines all in a row. While you're looking at the nether regions, ask the technician to show you the umbilical cord. If you can see the little hotdog clearly with the cord nowhere nearby, you can rest assured that 75% chance that you're having a boy means your baby is 100% male.

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