ultrasoundAn ultrasound, also referred to as a sonogram, is a non-invasive tool used by physicians to help monitor the growth and development of embryos/fetus’. It uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the fetus inside the mother’s uterus without the use of radiation, like used in X-rays. Ultrasounds capture continuous, real-time images that reveal the fetus’ structure and movement, as well as the blood flowing through the veins and movement of the internal organs. These images allow us to assess the gestational age, size and growth of the fetus.

Ultrasounds are considered to be a safe, accurate and cost-effective way to examine the development of the fetus. They are used for the following purposes:

  • To confirm pregnancy.
  • To determine gestational age and fetal size.
  • To diagnose any possible fetal malformation. (spina bifida, cleft lips/palate, etc.)
  • To determine the location of the placenta and ensure there are no abnormalities.
  • To confirm multiple pregnancies.
  • To detect excessive or decreased amounts of amniotic fluid in the uterus.
  • To confirm fetal presentation when uncertain.
  • To evaluate fetal movement and breathing patterns.
  • To diagnose any pelvic or uterine abnormalities such as an ovarian cyst.
  • To confirm intrauterine death.

Generally, pregnant women will receive two ultrasounds. The first early in pregnancy, around 7 weeks, to confirm pregnancy, determine an approximate due date and exclude ectopic or molar pregnancies. The second ultrasound is normally performed at 18 to 20 weeks mostly to determine if there are any congenital malformations, multiple pregnancies, to confirm the due date and to determine the gender of the fetus. Additional ultrasounds may be taken throughout the pregnancy and depends on whether or not your physician feels that further assessment is needed.

Types of Ultrasounds

With the advancement in today’s technology, we have many types of ultrasounds to use at different times and for different purposes throughout the pregnancy, including:

  • Transvaginal Ultrasound – images taken by a probe inserted through the vagina. Used in the early stages of pregnancy.
  • Doppler Ultrasound – used to diagnose possible cardiac malformations through color mapping of the blood vessels.
  • 2D Ultrasound – the most common form of ultrasound used to monitor the growth and development of the fetus.
  • 3D Ultrasounds – used in addition to the 2D ultrasound to monitor the growth and development of the fetus. Provides 3D still photographs showing detailed features of the baby.
  • 4D Ultrasounds – captures the movement of the fetus in 4D.
  • Gender Ultrasounds – Current pricing for this type of ultrasound is $50.