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"Do first ultrasounds matter most?"


Is it true that the first ultrasound is the most important one, in terms of the things you'll learn from it and the problems you might find? I'm in my first trimester and about to get a first ultrasound, and I just want to make sure I know what to expect. What's the best - case scenario?


The first ultrasound is a good screening tool to evaluate your baby for certain birth defects that can be visible early on during your child's development. Certain defects including spinal cord development abnormalities, such as spina bifida, meningoceles, and myelomeningoceles, facial abnormalities, such as cleft palate, or cleft lip, vascular abnormalities such as 2 vessel cords, and low levels of amniotic fluid can be seen during the first ultrasound. Certain lab tests can also be used to evaluate for Down's syndrome and other developmental abnormalities.

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Your OB/gyn can discuss with you further all the tests that can be run and what diseases can be seen. Depending on what is found on the first ultrasound, you may be required to have further ultrasounds to ensure that your baby is continuing to grow and develop normally. For instance, if it is found that you have low levels of amniotic fluid, this can lead to other problems in your pregnancy, that may even necessitate induced pregnancy. Again, it is important to discuss these questions with your ob/gyn who will be able to best assess your clinical history and evaluate the results of your ultrasound to decide what further course of action may be necessary.

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