Ultrasounds aren’t a necessary part of ordinary prenatal care but may be desired by the expectant parents or even deemed medically necessary in the event of potential pregnancy complications, notes the American Pregnancy Association. This type of scan, also known as a sonogram, can be used throughout pregnancy to detect potentially dangerous conditions such as tubal pregnancy or fetal death. Ultrasounds can also be used to estimate delivery dates, check the mother’s reproductive system for any abnormalities and even to guess the future child’s sex. While ultrasounds are not considered extremely risky by medical institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, expectant moms should avoid them unless absolutely necessary.
In general, fetal ultrasounds should not cause problems in the expectant mom or her future child, notes the Mayo Clinic. However, the medical institution notes that long-term effects on children who had an ultrasound performed during their mothers’ pregnancies have not been thoroughly studied. Thus, the Mayo Clinic states that it cannot safely claim that ultrasounds during pregnancy are entirely risk-free. Radiation poses potential risks to the fetus, so expectant moms should avoid X-rays during their terms, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Perhaps one of the biggest dangers of an ultrasound during pregnancy is potential misinformation, according to the Mayo Clinic and the American Pregnancy Association. Ultrasounds are great at pointing out birth defects but do not detect all of them. Also, ultrasounds can often determine about 18 weeks after conception a child’s sex or if there are multiple births expected, but this is also not an exact science. No mom can be 100 percent certain what child(ren) to expect until after birth, warns the American Pregnancy Association.
Urinating before the exam can make it more difficult for medical professionals to accurately read an ultrasound, according to the Mayo Clinic. Unless you are told otherwise, try to avoid urinating before the exam; this might prove difficult, as frequent urination is one of the most common pregnancy side effects.