Obstetric ultrasounds provide an image, through sound waves, and provide information about the growing baby inside the woman’s uterus. Generally, an obstetric ultrasound can be used in the first trimester for determining dates of the pregnancy, in the second trimester for the anatomy of the baby, and in the third trimester for growth and position of the baby.
What is an obstetric ultrasound?
An obstetric ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of the fetus, placenta, and uterus. These sound waves are produced when the ultrasound technician runs the transducer lightly over the mother’s abdomen. It is not painful and there is no radiation involved. The sound waves make an image of the fetus and the internal organs. These images can be seen on the ultrasound monitor in real time.
When is an obstetric ultrasound used?
An obstetric ultrasound can examine the baby in the uterus and provide information including the age and anatomy of the fetus as well as the position, movement, breathing, and heart rate. The sex of the fetus can often be determined as well. The placement of the placenta and the amount of amniotic fluid can also be seen. An obstetric ultrasound can show if there is more than one fetus and can also determine some birth defects or if further prenatal testing is necessary. An obstetric ultrasound can be performed at any time during pregnancy to look at the fetus.
Obstetric ultrasound can be used for a fetal cardiogram to examine the heart of the fetus if there is a possible problem detected. And an obstetric ultrasound can also help find the cause of bleeding and/or pain. 3D and 4D ultrasounds can also be used in special situations.
What are the different types of obstetric ultrasounds?
There are several different types of obstetric ultrasounds available today. Each type of ultrasound has different uses and technology.
- Transabdominal ultrasound is when the transducer is placed on the abdomen
- Transvaginal ultrasound is when the transducer is placed in the vagina
- Doppler ultrasound uses high intensity sound waves to listen to the baby’s heartbeat or to examine the movement of blood