In-Office Sonograms and Ultrasounds
An ultrasound exam is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to scan a woman’s abdomen and pelvic cavity, creating a picture (sonogram) of the baby and placenta. Although the terms ultrasound and sonogram are technically different, they are used interchangeably and reference the same exam.
– Specially designed probes are used inside the vagina to generate sonogram images. Most often used during the early stages of pregnancy.
– This imaging procedure measures slight changes in the frequency of the ultrasound waves as they bounce off moving objects, such as blood cells.
– Traditional ultrasound exam which uses a transducer over the abdomen to generate 2-D images of the developing fetus .
– This exam is similar to the standard ultrasound, but the exam targets a suspected problem and uses more sophisticated equipment.
– Uses ultrasound waves to assess the baby’s heart anatomy and function. This is used to help assess suspected congenital heart defects.
4-D or Dynamic 3-D Ultrasound
– Uses specially designed scanners to look at the face and movements of the baby prior to delivery.
– Uses specially designed probes and software to generate 3-D images of the developing fetus.
How Is An Ultrasound Performed?
The traditional ultrasound procedure involves placing gel on your abdomen to work as a conductor for the sound waves. Your healthcare provider uses a transducer to produce sound waves into the uterus. The sound waves bounce off bones and tissue returning back to the transducer to generate black and white images of the fetus.
When Are Ultrasounds Performed?
Ultrasounds may be performed at any point during pregnancy, and the results are seen immediately on a monitor during the procedure. Transvaginal scans may be used early in pregnancy to diagnose potential ectopic or molar pregnancies.
There is not a recommended number of ultrasounds that should be performed during routine prenatal care. Because ultrasound should only be used when medically indicated, many healthy pregnancies will not require ultrasound. The average number of ultrasounds varies with each healthcare provider.
Additional ultrasounds might be ordered separately if your healthcare provider suspects a complication or problem related to your pregnancy.