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Pregnancy ultrasound

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Table of Contents

Pregnancy ultrasound : Definition Pregnancy ultrasound : Why is the Test Performed? Pregnancy ultrasound : How is the Test Performed? Pregnancy ultrasound : How to Prepare for the Test? Pregnancy ultrasound : How will the Test Feel? Pregnancy ultrasound : Risks Pregnancy ultrasound : Normal Values Pregnancy ultrasound : What do Abnormal Results Mean? Pregnancy ultrasound : Pictures & Images Ultrasound in pregnancy Ultrasound, normal fetus - abdomen measurements Ultrasound, normal fetus - arm and legs Ultrasound, normal placenta - Braxton Hicks Ultrasound, normal fetus - face Ultrasound, normal fetus - femur measurement Ultrasound, normal fetus - foot Ultrasound, normal fetus - head measurements Ultrasound, normal fetus - heartbeat Ultrasound, ventricular septal defect - heartbeat Ultrasound, normal fetus - arms and legs Ultrasound, normal relaxed placenta Ultrasound, normal fetus - profile view Ultrasound, normal fetus - spine and ribs Ultrasound, color - normal umbilical cord Ultrasound, normal fetus - ventricles of brain Ultrasound - series Procedure, part 1 Procedure, part 2 Procedure, part 3

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Pregnancy ultrasound
Alternate Names : Pregnancy sonogram, Obstetric ultrasonography, Obstetric sonogram, Ultrasound pregnancy

Definition
A pregnancy ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to see how a fetus is developing in the womb. It is also used to check the female pelvic organs during pregnancy.

Why is the Test Performed?


Some doctors order an ultrasound when they think there may be a problem with the pregnancy. Others advocate screening ultrasounds. You should consult your health care provider to determine the most appropriate scanning schedule for you. Scans may be performed in the first trimester to:

Confirm a normal pregnancy Assess the baby's age Rule out problems, such as ectopic pregnancies or potential for miscarriage Assess the baby's heart rate See if there are multiple pregnancies Identify problems of the placenta, uterus, and pelvis

Scans may also be obtained in the second and third trimesters to:

Assess the baby's age, growth, position, and sometimes gender Identify any developmental problems Rule out multiple pregnancies Evaluate the placenta, amniotic fluid, and pelvis

Some centers are now performing a scan at around 13 - 14 weeks of pregnancy to look for risks of Down syndrome or other developmental abnormalities in the fetus. The total number of scans will depend on whether a previous scan or blood test has detected problems that require follow-up testing.

How is the Test Performed?


You will lie down for the procedure. The person performing the test places a clear, water-based gel on your belly and pelvis area and then moves a hand-held probe over the area. The gel helps the probe transmit sound waves. These waves bounce off the body structures, including the developing fetus, to create a picture on the ultrasound machine. In some cases, a pregnancy ultrasound may be done by placing the probe into the vagina. For information on this procedure, see transvaginal ultrasound.

How to Prepare for the Test?


A full bladder is necessary to get a good picture. Therefore, you may be asked to drink 2 to 3 glasses of liquid an hour before the test. You should not urinate before the procedure.

How will the Test Feel?


There may be some discomfort from pressure on the full bladder. The conducting gel may feel slightly cold and wet. You will not feel the ultrasound waves.

Risks
There is no documented effect regarding current ultrasound techniques and the risk to women and their developing babies. No ionizing radiation is involved.

Normal Values
The fetus and associated pelvic structures are normal in appearance and appropriate for the gestational age. Note: Normal results may vary slightly. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What do Abnormal Results Mean?


Abnormal ultrasound results may be due to some of the following conditions:

Birth defects Ectopic pregnancy Intrauterine growth retardation Multiple pregnancies Miscarriage Problems with the baby's position in the womb Problems with the placenta, including placenta previa and placental abruption Too little amniotic fluid Too much amniotic fluid ( polyhydramnios) Tumors of pregnancy, including gestational trophoblastic disease Other problems with the ovaries, uterus, and remaining pelvic structures

Pictures & Images


The ultrasound has become a standard procedure used during pregnancy. It can demonstrate fetal growth and can detect increasing numbers of conditions in the fetus including meningomyelocele, congenital heart disease, kidney abnormalities, hydrocephalus, anencephaly, club feet, and other deformities. Ultrasound does not produce ionizing radiation and is considered a very safe procedure for both the mother and the fetus.

Ultrasound in pregnancy

Ultrasound, normal fetus - abdomen measurements

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 19 weeks gestation. Many health care providers like to have fetal measurements to verify the size of the fetus and to look for any abnormalities. This ultrasound is of an abdominal measurement. It shows a cross-section of the abdomen, and the measurements are indicated by the cross hairs and dotted lines.

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 17 weeks gestation. This is the type of image pregnant mothers may see on the ultrasound screen, or that the technician may print. It shows the head on the right, and the cross hair pointing to the left ankle. The left leg and arm are visible in the center of the screen. Ultrasound, normal fetus - arm and legs

Ultrasound, normal placenta Braxton Hicks

This is a normal ultrasound performed at 17 weeks gestation. It shows the placenta during a normal (Braxton Hicks) contraction. Throughout the pregnancy, the uterus periodically contracts to facilitate better blood flow through the placenta and the fetus. In this ultrasound, the placenta can be seen as the mound-shaped object in the middle of the screen. At the bottom of the image, the mother's vertebra can be seen as a round object. When the uterus is not contracting, the placenta would appear much flatter.

Ultrasound, normal fetus - face

This is a normal ultrasound of the fetus performed at 17 weeks gestation. The fetal face can be seen in the middle of the screen. The head is tilted left toward the placenta, which can be seen as a mound in the left of the ultrasound image. Both eyes are visible, and the area of white within the eye is the lens. Other facial features, such as the nose and mouth, are also visible.

This is a normal ultrasound of the fetus performed at 19 weeks gestation. A clear view of the left femur (the large bone of the leg) can be seen in the middle, towards the top of the ultrasound screen. Ultrasound, normal fetus - femur measurement

This is a normal ultrasound of a fetus at 19 weeks gestation. The right foot, including the developing bones, are clearly visible in the middle of the screen. Ultrasound, normal fetus - foot

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 19 weeks gestation. Many health care providers like to have fetal measurements to verify the size of the fetus and to look for any abnormalities. This ultrasound is of a head measurement, indicated by the cross hairs and dotted lines. Ultrasound, normal fetus - head measurements

This is a normal fetal ultrasound showing one pattern of the fetal heartbeat. Some ultrasound machines have the ability to focus on different areas of the heart and evaluate the heartbeat. This is useful in the early diagnosis of congenital heart abnormalities. Ultrasound, normal fetus - heartbeat

This is an ultrasound showing a ventricular septal defect pattern of the fetal heartbeat. Some ultrasound machines have the ability to focus on different areas of the heart and evaluate the heartbeat. This is useful in the early diagnosis of congenital heart abnormalities. Ultrasound, ventricular septal defect - heartbeat

Ultrasound, normal fetus - arms and legs

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 19 weeks gestation. This is the type of spilt-screen display you might see during an ultrasound, or if the technician prints a copy of the ultrasound for you. This ultrasound shows both the left arm (seen in the left side of the display), and the lower extremities (seen in the right side of the display). The white areas of the arm or legs is developing bone.

Ultrasound, normal relaxed placenta

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 19 weeks gestation. This ultrasound shows two interesting features. In the foreground, to the left and middle of the screen, you can see the placenta, following the curve of the uterus. In the background on the right, where the cross hair is pointing, you can see the face with all the facial features visible.

Ultrasound, normal fetus - profile view

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 17 weeks gestation. In the middle of the screen, the profile of the fetus is visible. The outline of the head can be seen in the left middle of the screen with the face down and the body in the fetal position extending to the lower right of the head. The outline of the spine can be seen on the right middle side of the screen.

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 30 weeks gestation. In the middle of the screen, a clear outline of the spine and ribs is visible. The cross hair is between two ribs just above the spine. Ultrasound, normal fetus - spine and ribs

Ultrasound, color - normal umbilical cord

This is a normal color Doppler ultrasound of the umbilical cord performed at 30 weeks gestation. The cord is the colored area in the middle of the screen, with the different blood vessels represented by different colors. There are normally three vessels in the cord, two arteries and one vein. The umbilical cord is connected to the placenta, located in the middle left of the image.

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 17 weeks gestation. The development of the brain and nervous system begins early in fetal development. During an ultrasound, the technician usually looks for the presence of brain ventricles. Ventricles are spaces in the brain that are filled with fluid. In this early ultrasound, the ventricles can be seen as light lines extending through the skull, seen in the upper right side of the image. The cross hair is Ultrasound, normal fetus - ventricles pointing to the front of the skull, and directly to the right, the lines of the ventricles are visible. of brain

Browse through illustrations for Ultrasound - series

Ultrasound - series

The ultrasound has become a standard procedure used during pregnancy. It can demonstrate fetal growth and can detect increasing numbers of conditions in the fetus including meningomyelocele, congenital heart disease, kidney abnormalities, hydrocephalus, anencephaly, club feet, and other deformities. Ultrasound does not produce ionizing radiation and is considered a very safe procedure for both the mother and the fetus

Ultrasound, normal fetus - abdomen measurements

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 19 weeks gestation. Many health care providers like to have fetal measurements to verify the size of the fetus and to look for any abnormalities. This ultrasound is of an abdominal measurement. It shows a cross-section of the abdomen, and the measurements are indicated by the cross hairs and dotted lines.

Ultrasound, normal fetus - arm and legs

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 17 weeks gestation. This is the type of image pregnant mothers may see on the ultrasound screen,

or that the technician may print. It shows the head on the right, and the cross hair pointing to the left ankle. The left leg and arm are visible in the center of the screen.

Ultrasound, normal placenta - Braxton Hicks

This is a normal ultrasound performed at 17 weeks gestation. It shows the placenta during a normal (Braxton Hicks) contraction. Throughout the pregnancy, the uterus periodically contracts to facilitate better blood flow through the placenta and the fetus. In this ultrasound, the placenta can be seen as the mound-shaped object in the middle of the screen. At the bottom of the image, the mother's vertebra can be seen as a round object. When the uterus is not contracting, the placenta would appear much flatter.

Ultrasound, normal fetus - face

This is a normal ultrasound of the fetus performed at 17 weeks gestation. The fetal face can be seen in the middle of the screen. The head is tilted left toward the placenta, which can be seen as a mound in the left of the ultrasound image. Both eyes are visible, and the area of white within the eye is the lens. Other facial features, such as the nose and mouth, are also visible.

Ultrasound, normal fetus - femur measurement

This is a normal ultrasound of the fetus performed at 19 weeks gestation. A clear view of the left femur (the large bone of the leg) can be seen in

the middle, towards the top of the ultrasound screen.

Ultrasound, normal fetus - foot

This is a normal ultrasound of a fetus at 19 weeks gestation. The right foot, including the developing bones, are clearly visible in the middle of the screen.

Ultrasound, normal fetus - head measurements


This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 19 weeks gestation. Many health care providers like to have fetal measurements to verify the size of the fetus and to look for any abnormalities. This ultrasound is of a head measurement, indicated by the cross hairs and dotted lines.

Ultrasound, normal fetus - heartbeat

This is a normal fetal ultrasound showing one pattern of the fetal heartbeat. Some ultrasound machines have the ability to focus on different areas of the heart and evaluate the heartbeat. This is useful in the early diagnosis of congenital heart abnormalities.

Ultrasound, ventricular septal defect - heartbeat

This is an ultrasound showing a ventricular septal defect pattern of the fetal heartbeat. Some ultrasound machines have the ability to focus on different areas of the heart and evaluate the heartbeat. This is useful in the early diagnosis of congenital heart abnormalities.

Ultrasound, normal fetus - arms and legs

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 19 weeks gestation. This is the type of spilt-screen display you might see during an ultrasound, or if the technician prints a copy of the ultrasound for you. This ultrasound shows both the left arm (seen in the left side of the display), and the lower extremities (seen in the right side of the display). The white areas of the arm or legs is developing bone.

Ultrasound, normal relaxed placenta

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 19 weeks gestation. This ultrasound shows two interesting features. In the foreground, to the left and middle of the screen, you can see the placenta, following the curve of the uterus. In the background on the right, where the cross hair is pointing, you can see the face with all the facial features visible.

Ultrasound, normal fetus - profile view

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 17 weeks gestation. In the middle of the screen, the profile of the fetus is visible. The outline of the

head can be seen in the left middle of the screen with the face down and the body in the fetal position extending to the lower right of the head. The outline of the spine can be seen on the right middle side of the screen.

Ultrasound, normal fetus - spine and ribs

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 30 weeks gestation. In the middle of the screen, a clear outline of the spine and ribs is visible. The cross hair is between two ribs just above the spine.

Ultrasound, color - normal umbilical cord

This is a normal color Doppler ultrasound of the umbilical cord performed at 30 weeks gestation. The cord is the colored area in the middle of the screen, with the different blood vessels represented by different colors. There are normally three vessels in the cord, two arteries and one vein. The umbilical cord is connected to the placenta, located in the middle left of the image.

Ultrasound, normal fetus - ventricles of brain

This is a normal fetal ultrasound performed at 17 weeks gestation. The development of the brain and nervous system begins early in fetal

development. During an ultrasound, the technician usually looks for the presence of brain ventricles. Ventricles are spaces in the brain that are filled with fluid. In this early ultrasound, the ventricles can be seen as light lines extending through the skull, seen in the upper right side of the image. The cross hair is pointing to the front of the skull, and directly to the right, the lines of the ventricles are visible.

Ultrasound - series Procedure, part 1

As you lie on an exam table, a sonographer coats your belly with a slick -- and possibly cold -- gel. Next, he moves a transducer, a hand-held device shaped like a microphone, over your belly. You can see the resulting images on a nearby computer screen.

Ultrasound - series Procedure, part 2

The transducer emits inaudible sound waves, which fan out as they travel through your abdomen. When they hit dense structures like the fetus and the wall of your uterus, the sound waves bounce back to the transducer and are translated into a visual image by the computer.

Ultrasound - series Procedure, part 3

Don't get your hopes up too much about this first, fleeting look at your baby. The black-and-white image you see on the computer screen is grainy, shadowy, and may look more like a test pattern than a baby-to-be. Your sonographer will walk you through what you're seeing by pointing out the fetus' developing heart, limbs, and head.