• Ultrasound imaging is done with sound waves. Sound travels well through water (or fluids) and not as well through air (or other gasses). Because many of the structures they're trying to view are behind the bladder, having the patient have a full bladder makes viewing those structures much easier. This applies to ultrasounds done from the outside of the body. There are other methods - transvaginal - where a probe is inserted. The probe is behind the bladder, so a full bladder won't be necessary.
  • I think it depends more on the quality/age of the ultrasound equipment being used. We have 2 kids. Kid #1, wife had the ultrasound done in the doctor's office (older equipment) and had to have a full bladder. Kid #2, they did it in a hospital (more modern equipment) and she did not have to have a full bladder...same ultrasound studies for both kids...the hospital people told us their equipment was newer (of better imaging quality) and that was why she didn't need a full bladder.
  • A full bladder makes the baby raise up higher so the ultrasound gets the picture alot easier.

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