An ultrasound, also known as a sonogram, is a test that allows you to see our baby before it is born. An ultrasound is used by health care providers to make an assessment of the pregnancy, and to determine whether pregnancy is progressing in the way that it should be.
An ultrasound is conducted rather simply. A special jelly that helps to conduct the sounds inside your belly is first placed on your abdomen. Then, an ultrasound technician or health care provider will guide the ultrasound probe across your abdomen to take a "look" at your baby.
It is possible that your health care provider will be able to detect your pregnancy on an ultrasound as early as your fifth or sixth week of pregnancy. However, the sac containing your baby and its heart is so small at this stage that it will probably be difficult to detect. Sometime around the 8th week of pregnancy is the best time to start being able to see your baby on an ultrasound.
If you can see your baby on an ultrasound at 8 weeks, it is likely that your baby’s heart beat can be heard, as well. After 8 weeks of pregnancy, it is relatively easy to see your baby on an ultrasound, and to hear his heart beating. In some instances, your health care provider may wish to do an ultrasound on a regular basis to insure that your baby is growing and that your pregnancy is progressing properly.
There is a newer type of ultrasound that may be able to detect a pregnancy even earlier. This type of ultrasound, which involves placing an ultrasound probe into the vagina, is known as a Transvaginal Ultrasound. While a transvaginal ultrasound is used primarily to look at a woman’s reproductive organs, it may be also used to detect whether or not you are pregnant.