Obstetrical Ultrasound FAQs

An obstetrical ultrasound is a routine procedure performed during pregnancy to evaluate the health and development of the fetus. The ultrasound shows the movement of the fetus and its heartbeat with real-time images. The sounds of blood flowing through the fetal heart and umbilical cord can also be heard during this procedure.

Who is this procedure for?

An obstetrical ultrasound is performed during pregnancy to monitor the size, age, health and position of the fetus. Pregnant women will undergo several ultrasound procedures throughout the course of pregnancy to ensure that the fetus is growing at a healthy rate with no serious complications.

How should I prepare for the procedure?

Patients should wear loose clothing for the procedure that allows for the lower abdominal area to be easily exposed. The patient may be asked to drink up to six glasses of water without emptying the bladder before the procedure so that images of the uterus can be easily obtained. This is especially important during the first few months of pregnancy, but may not be necessary later on.

What happens during the procedure?

During an obstetrical ultrasound procedure, the patient lies on an exam table and a clear gel is applied to the skin of the lower abdominal area to allow for smooth contact with the transducer. The transducer is then moved back and forth across the skin to receive the sound waves of the body and convert them into images that can be viewed on a computer screen in real time. Still images are also taken to be thoroughly reviewed by the doctor. The ultrasound procedure takes about 30 minutes to perform.

What are the benefits of the procedure?

An obstetrical ultrasound is a noninvasive procedure that is easy to perform in the doctor's office. It is used to monitor the fetus during pregnancy, with no harm to either the patient or fetus. The procedure provides detailed information throughout the course of pregnancy that helps the doctor ensure a safe and comfortable pregnancy, labor and delivery.

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