Haugen OBGYN provides Ultrasounds by Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ultrasound ?
Ultrasound is currently considered to be a safe, non-invasive, accurate and cost effective tool used to help in the diagnosis process. It has become an indispensable obstetric tool and plays an important role in the care of women. It is commonly used in obstetrics to diagnose both the age and health of the developing fetus.
Ultrasound uses sound waves with frequencies above detection by the human ear. An ultrasound-emitting device, called a transducer, is placed against the skin. The sound waves reflect in varying degrees when they contact tissues of different density and elasticity. The pattern of echoes is detected by the transducer and is converted into a moving image seen on a monitor. Movements such as fetal heart beat and malformations in the fetus can be assessed and measurements can be made accurately on the images displayed on the screen. Such measurements form the cornerstone in the assessment of gestational age, size, and growth in the fetus.
Why and when is ultrasound used in pregnancy? (OB Ultrasound)
- Diagnosis and confirmation of early pregnancy.
- Vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy.
- Placental localization.
- Multiple pregnancies.
- Measure amniotic fluid volume.
- Determination of gestational age and assessment of fetal size.
Why and when is ultrasound used for non-pregnant women? (Pelvic Ultrasound)
- Pelvic pain.
- Irregular Bleeding.
- Heavy bleeding with menstruation.
- Evaluation of pelvic mass (ovarian cysts & uterine fibroid growths).
- Localization of IUD or foreign body.
- Evaluation of trauma.
How should I prepare for the procedure?
You should wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. A full bladder provides a sonographic window for evaluation of the uterus and adnexa, and is required for the procedure when abdominal scanning is done. There may be some discomfort from the pressure of a full bladder. A full bladder is needed to achieve the complete documentation that is required for this exam. To accomplish this, please drink at least 24 ounces (three glasses) of water 1 hour PRIOR to your exam time and DO NOT urinate.
How is the “pelvic ultrasound” procedure performed?
Viewing through the bladder does not give us complete visualization of the pelvic structures or the developing pregnancy in the first trimester. We use a method known as “Endovaginal Screening” for pelvic and first trimester OB exams. This is done with specially designed transducers. Scanning is done with the transducer placed in the vagina after you have emptied your bladder. This method usually provides better images and therefore more information. The better images are a result of the scan head’s closer proximity to the uterus and the higher frequency used in the transducer. The majority of women find this scanning method more comfortable than scanning with a distended bladder.
Will I have an Abdominal or Vaginal ultrasound exam?
This will depend on the reason the exam has been requested. First trimester OB and pelvic exams usually are performed transvaginally. Second and third trimester OB exams are usually done transabdominally. In some cases this alone will not be adequate and both transabdominal and transvaginal exams will be needed. The examiner will make the decision as to which type of scan is necessary at the time of your exam.
Is ultrasound safe?
Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive, usually painless examination. Ultrasound uses no ionizing radiation (x-ray). There are no known harmful effects associated with the medical use of sonography. Widespread clinical use of diagnostic ultrasound for many years has not revealed any harmful effects. Studies in humans have demonstrated no direct link between the use of diagnostic ultrasound and any adverse outcome.