Pregnancy ultrasound is a scan to monitor the fetus and pelvic organs of the mother during pregnancy.
The ultrasound technology emits high frequency sound waves, which recoils on your body structures to generate a picture.
The pregnancy ultrasound is also known as pregnancy sonogram or obstetric ultrasound.
By using the ultrasound tests, it is possible to observe the images of the baby, amniotic sac, ovaries, and placenta.
Even, the major abnormalities or birth defects can be seen using an ultrasound scan.
Performing pregnancy ultrasound tests during pregnancy is very safe and painless procedure. It causes no side effects to you or your developing baby. Moreover, the ultrasound uses no radiation exposure.
Currently using pregnancy ultrasound equipments are known as real-time scanners where it uses very high frequency sound waves (3.5-7.0 megahertz) to generate a continuous picture of the moving fetus on the screen.
The doctor performs a pregnancy ultrasound at any stage of your pregnancy. In the first trimester of pregnancy, the doctor monitors the development of the embryo in the uterus, verifies the number of embryos, and estimate the gestational age as well as the due date.
In the second trimester, the doctor observes the development of fetal structures, the size and location of the placenta as well as the sex of the baby. In the third trimester, it is done to see the baby’s growth and the location of the placenta to ensure that it isn’t obstructing the cervix.
Before scheduling your ultrasound scan, it is essential for you to take 32 ounces of water. However, this amount of water is not necessary to take all at once. Finish taking the water at least an hour before the onset of your pregnancy ultrasound examination.
Remember that you should not urinate once you start taking the water, as a full bladder is essential to get a good image.
On the other hand, the pregnancy ultrasound procedure is based on the ultrasound type used.
Transabdominal ultrasound is an ultrasound procedure that uses sound waves to pass through water in order to show the image of the fetus. Thus, the pregnancy ultrasound uses the full bladder as a ‘porthole’ to your uterus.
For this test, you have to lie down on an examination table. A clear, water- based gel will be applied to the skin on your abdomen, as gel helps passes sound waves easily. Now, the sonographer uses a hand-held probe in that area.
The images of the fetus and the pelvic structures can be seen right away on a nearby monitor. To observe the deeper structures, the sonographer occasionally pushes the probe quite firmly. This pregnancy ultrasound procedure generally takes about 30 minutes.
Vaginal ultrasound is also pregnancy ultrasound procedure where the probe will be placed into the patient’s vagina. The procedure is called transvaginal ultrasound scanning.
Usually, it takes about 30 minutes to perform this procedure. This procedure is generally used when a transabdominal ultrasound is unable to generate a clear picture due to extreme air in the bowel, as air is a poor conductor of sound waves.
Therefore, the pregnancy ultrasound test is used to determine development of the baby.