What Happens During an Ultrasound?
Have you received a positive pregnancy test result? Do you suspect you may be pregnant?
You may be experiencing confusion and a range of emotions as you try to decide what your next step should be.
If so, it’s time to schedule an ultrasound appointment. This article talks about why an ultrasound is important in early pregnancy, how ultrasound scans work, what happens during an ultrasound, and how to schedule your ultrasound appointment.
Why Get an Ultrasound?
After a positive pregnancy test result, your first pregnancy ultrasound provides additional crucial information on your pregnancy status:
- Get an accurate measurement of the gestational age of your pregnancy. An ultrasound scan can also determine whether you have more than one baby --such as twins -- in your uterus(1).
- Determine the viability of your pregnancy. As many as 33% of all known pregnancies will end in miscarriage, depending on your age, overall health, and other factors. Your first pregnancy ultrasound will determine whether your pregnancy can be carried to term(2).
- Detect an ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when your baby implants outside the uterus, such as in the fallopian tubes. This is a potentially life threatening condition that requires immediate medical treatment(1). While our nurses cannot diagnose an ectopic pregnancy, we can refer you to a physician if we detect any abnormalities.
How Do Ultrasounds Work?
Ultrasound technology, also called sonography or a sonogram, uses high-frequency sound waves that are inaudible to the human ear(3).
The sound waves bounce off of objects inside of your body, including your baby. The echo produces a detailed visual image, allowing your health provider to make accurate assessments about the status of your pregnancy and the health of your baby.
Unlike x-rays, an ultrasound does not use radiation, which makes it a much safer imaging technology for you and your baby.
What Happens during an Ultrasound Appointment?
Mosaic PHC provides free, confidential ultrasound services for qualified clients. Here’s what you can expect during an ultrasound appointment.
- First, you will lie on your back on a padded examination table(1).
- Next, a licensed sonographer will apply a slippery gel to your abdomen(3).
- The sonographer will move the transducer over your abdomen(3).
- The transducer sends the high-frequency sound waves through your abdomen to produce a detailed image of your baby(3).
- After the ultrasound is complete, the technician will clean the gel off of your abdomen(3).
You may also be offered an optional transvaginal ultrasound if the baby or pelvic organs are difficult to see. A specially designed transducer is safely inserted into your vagina, where it allows for a clearer picture of your baby.
Where Can I Get a Free Ultrasound?
You can get a free limited obstetric ultrasound at all Mosaic PHC locations. Your appointment will be free and confidential, which means it won’t show up on your insurance.
Your ultrasound scan will provide accurate information on your pregnancy status and can often be performed on the same day as your pregnancy test and initial consultation with our staff.
Contact us right away to schedule your first pregnancy ultrasound appointment. We’re here to help you through this time in your life.
1 - WebMD. (2014b). Fetal Ultrasound. Accessed from http://www.webmd.com/baby/fetal-ultrasound#1/.
2 - American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015). FAQ - Early Pregnancy Loss. Accessed from http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Early-Pregnancy-Loss.
3 - WebMD. (2014a). Prenatal Ultrasound. Accessed from http://www.webmd.com/baby/ultrasound#1.