20 Things I Didn't Expect at My 20-Week Ultrasound!

Updated: Sep 12

Today, I had my 20-week ultrasound! It went great, but some things were different than I had imagined they would be. Here are 20 things that I didn't expect, that you may not expect either, going into your 20-week ultrasound!

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#1. It Doesn't Always Happen at 20 Weeks Gestation

Before scheduling my 20-week ultrasound, I had assumed that it has to happen right at 20 weeks (as the name suggests). But I found out that you may not have your 20-week ultrasound at exactly 20 weeks. I had mine at 19 weeks and 6 days. it could happen anywhere from 18-22 weeks, depending on your practitioner and the scheduling process.


#2. You Probably Won't Get to See Your Midwife

If you're using a midwife, or team of midwives, chances are that you'll have to switch over to an OBGYN for the reading of the ultrasound results. My midwife team told me that they don't have anything to do with the ultrasound, but they handle everything else when it comes to my pregnancy and baby. Kinda weird, right?


#3. You Won't Necessarily Find Out the Gender

The first thing the ultrasound technician asked when I sat down for my ultrasound was, "Do you want to find out the gender?" I was kind of surprised she even asked me this (and even asked twice) because I assumed it was a given. However, some parents-to-be choose not to find out the gender, and that's certainly an option, too! Or, if baby doesn't get into the right position, you may not be able to find out the gender. Thankfully, we were able to find out like we had hoped to!


(Check out why I'm excited to be having a baby girl! https://www.faith-hope-motherhood.com/post/why-i-m-excited-to-have-a-baby-girl)


#4. Baby Might be Bigger Than You Think

Since I haven't started showing very much yet, I assumed that baby would be teeny-tiny, taking up some space just below my belly button. As it turns out, baby was sooooo much bigger and longer than I had imagined! Her head was under my belly button, her back was along my right side, and her legs were stretched practically all the way across my abdomen to my left side! I couldn't believe how big she already was!


#5. There Is More To It Than Just Finding Out the Gender and Getting Pictures

Am I the only one who thought the 20-week ultrasound was basically just to check the gender and get some sneak-peaks of baby's cute little face? Actually, it's a lot more than that. At my 20-week ultrasound, the technician took an in-depth look at baby's heart, kidneys, bladder, stomach, and brain. She took measurements of her skull, leg bones, and many other body parts. It was so amazing that the ultrasound showed not only inside of me, but inside of the little baby inside of me, too!


#6. 3D Images Might be Included

I had heard from others that 3D ultrasound images are not standard, so I didn't expect to see them at my 20-week ultrasound. I was shocked when the ultrasound technician asked me if I wanted to see the 3D images of baby's face! Of course, I wanted to, and since it was included in my ultrasound, why not? Now I can't promise that this will be included for everyone, but at least at my hospital it was!


#7. The Pressure Can be Intense

In order to get some good images of baby, the ultrasound technician had to press pretty hard sometimes. It wasn't painful, but it was certainly uncomfortable at times. I had thought it would be just a gentle brushing over my stomach, when in reality, there was more pressure involved.


#8. You Might Need to Run to the Bathroom

About halfway through my ultrasound, my bladder started filling up, even though I had just gone right before the ultrasound started (gotta love pregnancy). Plus the added pressure from outside made it seem even more urgent to use the bathroom. I had to take a little break, which is completely normal apparently. After using the bathroom, the rest of the ultrasound went much smoother.


#9. Emotions May Flow

Seeing our little baby girl for the very first time had my husband and I both in tears. We were filled with excitement and so much joy! Prepare for the waterworks.


#10. You Might Get to See Baby in Action

In our case, it was hard for the ultrasound technician to get a good picture of baby's feet, because she kept kicking them like crazy! It was so fun to see her wiggle her tiny legs and feet.


#11. What Baby Says, Goes

As mentioned above, there are many different shots that the ultrasound technician needs to get during the 20-week ultrasound. However, baby has to be in the right position to make some of those shots possible. This means that there could be times of waiting for baby to shift around, or to move their arm out of the way. Several times during my ultrasound, the technician had to leave a certain area and come back to it later when baby would hopefully be more cooperative. It's really all on baby's time and agenda!


#12. Baby Already Looks Like a Tiny Human

Since I'm only halfway through my entire pregnancy, I didn't really expect our baby girl to look the a normal human being with facial features and everything. at this point. But lo and behold - she already looks like a real baby! Of course I know she's been a real baby from the start, but I guess I expected something more alien-ilke than what we really saw in the ultrasound. We even got some great shots of her profile and can see resemblances to other family members! And she's only halfway through gestation! Amazing.


#13. You Might Not Know What Everything Is

So yes, baby does look like a tiny human, but at times, the ultrasound technician may zoom in on the organs inside baby's body, leaving you a tad confused. There were a few times during the ultrasound when I wanted to ask, "what is that blob right there?" To the untrained eye, a blob. To a trained ultrasound technician or doctor, a kidney. Usually the technician told us what was what, but I certainly could not have even guessed on my own.


#14. You'll See Baby's Heart Beating

I had heard baby's heart a few times, but I had never seen it beating before. There was something so amazing about watching that little heart expand and retract, pushing blood throughout her body and signifying that all is well in that little life.


#15. You'll Even See Blood Flow

I had no idea this was part of an ultrasound! The technician turned on a setting that showed the blood flow in red and blue streams of color. She focused in on where the umbilical cord connects to the placenta, where it connects to baby's belly, and also the blood flow within baby's heart.


#16. It Will be Over Far Too Quickly

The ultrasound part probably took 45 minutes or so, but it didn't feel like enough time! I wanted to keep looking at baby for hours. Sadly, it was time to go.


#17. The Ultrasound Technician is Sworn to Secrecy

Our technician told us baby's gender, but not much else. Her job was just to perform the ultrasound, then the OBGYN would review it and explain the results afterwards.


#18. You'll Probably Have to Wait Twice

I didn't realize before having my ultrasound that it's really a two-phase appointment: phase one is the ultrasound, and phase two is the explanation of results with the OBGYN. So this meant we had to wait before the ultrasound portion, then return to the waiting room and wait a second time to meet with the OBGYN. Since she was finishing up a delivery when we had our ultrasound appointment, we had to wait a little longer than expected for phase two.


#19. You Might be Confused for Having a Different Practitioner

As mentioned above, I'm a midwife patient. However, since the ultrasound explanation had to be done with an OBGYN, the lady at the desk who was scheduling my next appointment almost made it with the OBGYN rather than my team of midwives! I realized the mistake, thankfully. You can't assume that everyone is on the same page, especially if you have a different practitioner for your ultrasound review than usual.


#20. There's No Need to Worry

This one is the most important - just relax and enjoy the experience! I was worried ahead of time that something might be wrong with baby. And no one can say whether that will be the case or not ahead of time, but chances are very good that if you've made it to 20 weeks, things are moving along just fine. Even if there are some issues, you will still love baby just the same, and knowing so early on gives baby the best options for treatment. Medical technologies are so amazing. But what's even more amazing is that little life growing inside of you!


Don't forget to grab a keepsake frame for your ultrasound photos! I love this one from Amazon. The 20 week ultrasound is such a special occasion you'll want to remember forever. It truly is love at first sight.


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