How Much Water To Drink Before Your Ultrasound

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Here's when my doctor told me to drink water AND how much water to drink before a pregnancy ultrasound.

It’s the most exciting day of your pregnancy thus far — the ultrasound!

How much water are you supposed to drink for your ultrasound?

How will your bladder hold 32 ounces of fluid?!

Here are tips for surviving — and enjoying — your pregnancy ultrasound. Yes, even with a belly full of water!

When To Drink Water Before An Ultrasound

You may have an internal (transvaginal) ultrasound on your first visit.

Don’t worry, you won’t need to drink any fluid for that.

The big ultrasound is usually held at about 20 weeks.

how-to-drink-enough-water-for-your-ultrasound.jpgThat’s when you’ll find out if your baby is a boy or a girl!

Here’s a radiology resource which provides great details about the pregnancy ultrasound procedure.

How Much To Drink Before An Ultrasound

Your doctor’s office will give you instructions before your visit. 

Mine said to go to the bathroom, then drink 32 ounces of water before the ultrasound.

That’s a lot of water! 

  • Six 6-oz coffee mugs
  • Four 8-oz. glasses
  • Three 12-oz bottles
  • Two 16-oz bottles
  • Or one 32-oz Big Gulp without ice

You’re supposed to drink the water early enough before your pregnancy ultrasound that it has time to fill your bladder. But not so soon that you’re hopping on one foot in the waiting room!  1 hour is recommended.

Let’s hope you’re luckier than I was.  My doctor’s waiting room was equipped with a soothing, stress-relieving water fountain.  The longer you waited, the longer you heard the peaceful stream of water cascading…

I didn’t think I was going to survive.  Most pregnant women can only make it 1-2 hours between bathroom visits on a normal day!

What’s It’s Like Having An Ultrasound


Soon, the ultrasound technician forcefully rubbed the instrument all over my belly.

Ultrasounds don’t hurt, but the pressure on my bladder felt very uncomfortable.

Ultrasound Day Tips

Here are a few tips that helped me the day I thought my bladder would burst:

  • Drink room temperature water.  It doesn’t shock your system as much as 32 ounces of ice cold fury.
  • Sip through a straw.  Just keep sipping.
  • Wear loose pants.  That way, you’ll only have to slide the band down for your ultrasound, not change into a separate gown.
  • If you are truly worried, consider a panty liner for protection.  These are quite helpful during the last few months of pregnancy, anyway.

(Should I start calling this the Too Much Information blog?  Hee hee!)

Above all, remember: the less air is in your bladder, the better you will be able to see your baby’s image! 

And that’s worth all the discomfort in the world, right?