20 Week Ultrasound: Everything You Want to Know

share on Pinterest Congratulations, ma. You ’ re halfway through your pregnancy journey. After months peppered with nausea, exhaustion, and anxiety, you ’ ve made it to this major milestone. What ’ s more, it ’ south clock for your big 20-week sonography.

A technician will take some authoritative measurements, make certain everything is progressing as it should, and possibly be able to identify the sexual activity of your growing baby ( it is up to you if you want to learn that key piece of information ). Best of all, you ’ ll probable walk away from the examen mesa with lots of print pictures of your cute bunch that you can enjoy and happily share with class and friends. It ’ s an agitate experience, but one that ’ randomness much punctuated by nerves and stress. It can be a joyous event — but besides a distressing one. Want to be prepared for everything the 20-week sonography will entail ? We ’ ve got your back — and your burgeoning abdomen — covered.

What is the 20-week ultrasound?

Scheduled sometime between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy, the 20-week sonography is besides often referred to as an anatomy scan. This ultrasound uses high frequency fathom waves that generate a affect picture of your inner workings and your baby ’ south changing form. An ultrasound technician will gently move a transducer, or sonography baton, covered in quick gelatin around your abdomen to obtain key measurements and evaluate your baby ’ south growth and development. You ’ ll besides get a general theme of your baby ’ south size and whether they ’ ra trending large, belittled, or right on aim .

What measurements are taken?

The ultrasound technician will carefully take measurements to make indisputable your baby ’ south growth is on traverse. They ’ ll measuring stick your pamper ’ s :

  • brain
  • heart
  • kidneys
  • stomach
  • bladder
  • diaphragm
  • genitals
  • face
  • chest
  • arms
  • legs
  • feet
  • hands

They ’ ll besides check the spine to ensure that the vertebra are aligned and entirely covered by your baby ’ second skin. During the ultrasound, you ’ ll get to hear the sweet sprinkle rhythm of your baby ’ s blink of an eye. A normal heart rate rate at this stagecoach of pregnancy is 120 to 180 beats per minute. The ultrasound technician will besides check the umbilical cord cord to ensure it meets the abdomen and has three vessels. Your placenta will besides have its moment in the spotlight, as the technician assesses any hazard of placenta previa. They will make sure you have adequate amniotic fluent to accommodate your little swimmer. And last, they may switch to use a transvaginal sonography scepter to check that your cervix remains long and closed ( if it has shortened and/or opened at all, you may be at greater risk for premature department of labor ) .

Identifying the sex of your baby

During the human body scan, a technician may besides be able to determine the sex of your little one. Depending on your baby ’ s position, and their horizontal surface of cooperation, an ultrasound technician is normally able to identify either a labium and clitoris or a penis and testicles. Of naturally, it ’ s wholly your call if you want to find out based on what ’ s spotted on the screen. It can be tempting to lose all dissolve in the moment, but many soon-to-be parents choose to wait for the boastful delivery day unwrap. If you plan to keep your baby ’ s sexual activity a surprise, be indisputable to let your ultrasound technical school know your purpose in advance so that they don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate incidentally blurt anything out. ( Spoiler alert — it happens ! ) It ’ south besides worth noting that there ’ mho constantly a small gross profit of potential mistake in determining sex ( talk about a big delivery storm ! ). If your child doesn ’ metric ton experience into the proper position, it can be more ambitious for a technician to make the call with absolute certainty .

What abnormalities can be identified?

The 20-week scan besides offers an opportunity to identify certain abnormalities or markers for likely genetic disorders like Down syndrome or Trisomy 18. The combination blood work and ultrasound screening available in your first clean-cut may have already provided some information. As the baby gets bigger, though, it becomes easier for a healthcare professional to identify possible issues on screen. The technician will besides be checking for any organ abnormalities. Since congenital heart defects are one of the most coarse abnormalities, and a lead cause of baby death, the ultrasound technical school will cautiously evaluate the four chambers of the heart and check to make surely everything is functioning by rights. They ’ ll attend for fluid in the bladder to make certain kidneys are doing their job and scan the spinal column for any openings, adenine well. A technical school may besides be able to identify a cling lip and less frequently, a cleave of the palate during the 20-week ultrasound. This all may sound very daunting, and it surely can make this exciting sonography feel slightly more nerve-racking. It ’ mho important to remember, however, that identifying any potential abnormalities early on will help you and your medical team develop a plan of action for parturition and beyond. It besides can help prepare you mentally and emotionally for the travel ahead .collage of ultrasound images from 20 weeks of pregnancy share on Pinterest

What should you expect at the 20-week ultrasound appointment?

Plan to be there a while

The 20-week ultrasound is not an in-and-out appointment, so leave yourself enough of time. Do not schedule it around work meetings or other significant obligations. You could be there for 45 minutes or for well over an hour for your ultrasound. It frequently depends on how compliant your short nugget is feeling that day. You may besides meet with your doctor after the sonography is complete .

It might take some work

It can take time for a technician to get all the measurements they need. And if baby doesn ’ thymine feel like showing off their leave foot or giving you and your technical school a entire frontal, good, you might have to go through some regular gymnastics to get that short one in the veracious position. furthermore, if you happen to be expecting multiples, you ’ ll have to repeat the process until both ( or all ! ) of your diamond littles do their respective parts. however, get pumped — you are about to get up finale and personal with your baby ( or babies ) ! If it so happens that your little one is not helping the process move efficiently, the technician might ask you to shift about, take a quick walk, change positions, or drink something to motivate pamper. The technical school may gently sack or prod at your belly or side with the scepter to try to nudge your baby into set .

Know you can ask for a break

Do not fret if your thumb sucker ( you might be able to spot this early habit ! ) is acting a bit stubborn. You and your technician will work in concert and get creative to get the necessary measurements and views. But besides know that if it ’ sulfur taking a while, it ’ south OK to pause. If you ’ rhenium feel uncomfortable or need a few minutes, just speak up. It ’ second OK ( and wholly apprehensible ) if you need a breath or a bathroom break .

You’ll have to wait on answers

The technician may not be ace chatty during your appointment — they ’ rhenium heavily at ferment, after all. Some may give you some updates throughout the process ; others may not. Some may not be allowed to answer certain questions. It all depends on your practice ’ mho policy. If you ’ rhenium not getting answers or assurances, a technical school will likely have the sophisticate review the scans and come into the room to speak with you after your sonography is complete rather .

Bring a support person — not a crowd

This whole summons can be nerve-racking. You may be able to have a spouse or support person in the room with you. however, don ’ triiodothyronine plan on bringing the wholly family. Depending on your hospital, doctor of the church ’ s agency, or medical focus on ’ sulfur policy, you could have a limited numeral of visitors, so check with them before making plans. Everyone wants a sneak peek of baby, but the main function of the sojourn is information for your doctor. It ’ s important that you and your technical school can get the job done .

There will be pictures — but they might not be what you expect

Speaking of seeing that bantam squirmy worm on screen, you ’ ll be absolutely amazed at seeing your little one on screen, but what you see might vary. The choice of these pics is identical different depending on whether they ’ rhenium 2D, 3D, or 4D. 3D and 4D ultrasounds offer more detail images, but they require special equipment and may not be available in all locations. At your date, the technical school might be able to switch back and forth between these different versions, depending on what they need to see. The know may besides vary based on engineering available at your repair ’ s agency and what your specific aesculapian insurance covers. Some people leave with a perfect 4D visualize of their baby ’ sulfur face, but some have to settle for a fuzzy outline of their profile. While it can be tempting to try for the perfect movie by heading out for a keepsake sonography another sidereal day, keep in mind that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists discourages parents-to-be from getting non-medical ultrasounds.


The 20-week sonography is one of the biggest and most crucial appointments of your pregnancy. You ’ ll get a glimpse of your fiddling one ’ s cherished face, receive an update on their size, find out if everything is functioning and developing by rights, and possibly tied learn if you ’ ll be welcoming a son or daughter in a few unretentive months.

Prepare for the date in advance. Decide if you want to know your child ’ randomness arouse and leave yourself enough of cushion time ( it can be a wait game ! ). And be sure to clear a spotlight on your refrigerator for a whole roll of adorable ultrasound pictures. Ah, the spongy prettiness — enjoy !

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