Ultrasonography is the most used fetal imaging tool. At WHA, we also commonly use this for gynecological exams and as a diagnostic tool. Ultrasonography is performed by technologists who have undergone specific training and only when there is a valid medical reason for the imaging study. A trained physician is responsible for interpreting all ultrasound studies.
Ultrasonography during pregnancy is an important tool for monitoring the health of both mother and baby. Ultrasound imaging can be used to detect the size and development of the fetus, monitor blood flow, evaluate the position of the placenta, and more. It can also help diagnose any potential issues with the development of the fetus.
Ultrasonography is generally considered safe for pregnant women, and there are no known risks associated with ultrasound imaging during pregnancy. However, it is important to keep in mind that while ultrasound can provide valuable information about the development of a fetus, it cannot detect all potential issues or problems that may arise during or after pregnancy.
A first trimester (or “dating”) ultrasound is recommended at the first prenatal visit. A second trimester (or “anatomy”) ultrasound is performed between 18-22 weeks of pregnancy. The timing of your second-trimester ultrasound may vary in order to have the best chance of diagnosing any fetal abnormalities.
In some high-risk pregnancies, the second-trimester ultrasound may be substituted for an extensive (or “level 2”) ultrasound that is performed with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist (MFM or high-risk obstetrician).
Any additional ultrasound evaluations MUST be ordered to evaluate a new diagnosis or problem. Even though these ultrasounds are considered part of routine obstetrical care, they may not be covered by insurance. Any ultrasounds performed at another facility (BSA, NWTHS, your PCP, etc.) may count toward these imaging studies even if previously billed to your insurance company.
Although there is no evidence of harm to a fetus with ultrasonography during pregnancy, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that the casual use of 3-D ultrasonography during pregnancy should be avoided. As a result of these recommendations, we do not offer “entertainment” ultrasonography or elective three-dimensional ultrasonography.
How long will it take?
Your ultrasound appointment may take approximately 30 minutes.
Can I bring people with me to my appointment?
You may bring a maximum of TWO guests to your ultrasound. In order to obtain the best images possible, we ask that you do not bring any children less than 12 years old to your ultrasound appointment. If you must bring children under the age of 12, they MUST be accompanied by another adult. You or your guest may be asked to remove disruptive children from the exam room. You MAY NOT have your guest(s) re-enter the exam room if they leave before the ultrasound is complete. Failure to follow these rules may lead to the immediate need to reschedule your appointment, an interrupted or incomplete exam that must be repeated later (with possible additional cost), or the inability of your guest(s) to view the examination in progress.
Will ultrasonography find all abnormalities?
Ultrasonography is NOT 100% effective at diagnosing all fetal abnormalities, even if multiple exams are performed during a pregnancy.
Ultrasonography is a type of diagnostic imaging procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create detailed images of organs, tissues, and other structures inside the body (including in gynecological exams). Ultrasound is widely used in medical diagnostics and can be used to diagnose various conditions, such as abdominal pain, gallstones, urinary tract infections, and heart murmurs. It is also used to detect cysts, tumors, and other abnormalities in the female reproductive system.
Ultrasound imaging can be done using either external probes (transducers) or internal probes (endovaginal). External ultrasonography provides more detailed images of organs located outside the uterus such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Endovaginal ultrasonography provides more detailed images of the internal structure of the uterus, cervix, and vagina as well as any masses or cysts in these areas.
Ultrasound can also be used to assess uterine size, thickness, and shape; detect fibroids; evaluate endometrial lining for excessive thickness or bleeding; assess ovaries for cysts, follicles, and ovarian tumors; detect the presence of pelvic masses; and measure the size of a pelvic mass. Ultrasonography is also used to diagnose ectopic pregnancies and monitor a fetus in the womb.
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