What to Expect During the Second Trimester Ultrasound


Somewhere around week 20, you’ll go in for a level 2 ultrasound—sometimes called an anatomy scan. Here’s what to expect.

How it works

If you had an ultrasound during the first trimester, you’ll find that this one is much different. Now that your baby is bigger, the sonographer will be able to get good pictures right through your belly, rather than having to use a wand to view your baby through your vagina.

You’ll lie back on a table and pull your shirt up just under your bra, so your belly is bare. The sonographer will squirt some gel onto your abdomen (hopefully it will be warmed first!), and then they’ll place the wand right on your skin. As the wand is moved, you’ll see different views of your baby up on a screen. You’ll have plenty of time to soak in the view, too—it should take at least a half hour.

What does it look for?

This ultrasound will help your doctor understand more about your baby and how he or she is growing and developing. If you wish (and if baby cooperates), you’ll probably be able to tell whether you’re having a boy or a girl. You should also be able to see your baby’s tiny heart beating, and you might even see their legs kicking around or a tiny thumb inside a tiny mouth.

How to prepare

Your health care provider will probably ask you to drink at least a full glass of water about an hour before your scheduled ultrasound. This will allow time for your bladder to be full, which will help the sonographer get good pictures of your baby.

Will I get pictures?

Yes! The sonographer will print out at least one or two pictures for you to keep.