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A full bladder helps the ultrasound echoes to reach your womb, giving the sonographer a good view of your baby.
If your baby's still deep in your pelvis, or if you're overweight, the image won't be very clear.
However, if your sonographer can't get a clear picture, she may offer you a transvaginal scan to confirm the position of your placenta.
In your third trimester, your doctor or midwife may recommend that you have a growth scan between 28 weeks and 40 weeks. She may ask you to half empty your bladder, which will make the scan more comfortable.
This is to check that your baby is developing normally.
Most of the time, the placenta has moved into a better position by the time you're 32 weeks pregnant.
But if your baby's lying in an awkward position, it's not always easy to tell.
They usually have a postgraduate certificate, diploma, or master's degree in medical ultrasound, and will carry out most of your scans.
An ultrasound scan sends sound waves through your womb (uterus). The echoes are then turned into an image on a screen that shows your baby’s position and movements.
Hard tissues, such as bone, reflect the most sound waves and so make the biggest echoes.
In this case, your sonographer may offer to do the scan through your vagina (transvaginal scan). You won't need a full bladder for this type of scan.
The vaginal transducer is long and narrow to fit comfortably inside your vagina.