A fetal ultrasound (sonogram) is a subtype of ultrasound that is carried out to visualize a fetus in the uterus. Ultrasounds are imaging techniques used to visualize the internal parts of our body. Ultrasounds produce images that can be used to assess various details about the fetus. The images are primarily used to determine fetal growth and monitor your pregnancy progression; however, they are also very useful for evaluating any problems or abnormalities with the fetus.
The types of fetal ultrasounds used in our practice are:
- Transabdominal ultrasound – The most commonly used fetal ultrasound; the transducer (a probe that gathers images) is placed and moved over your abdomen
- Transvaginal ultrasound – Either used in early pregnancy or when transabdominal ultrasounds don’t yield good enough results
- Fetal echocardiography – Used to assess the fetal heart in detail
- 3D ultrasound – Produces 3D images of the fetus
- Doppler ultrasound – Uses sound waves to detect blood flow through the fetus’ blood vessels
Why Is a Fetal Ultrasound Performed?
Fetal ultrasounds have many applications. The goals for a fetal ultrasound are categorized by the duration of your pregnancy. In the first trimester, fetal ultrasound is done to confirm the presence and number of the fetus(es), assess its size, location, and the duration of your pregnancy. First trimester ultrasound can also confirm the health of your uterus and cervix, and any abnormalities associated with them.
The second and third-trimester fetal ultrasounds are mainly used to determine, for example, fetal growth, fetal sex (gender), and details of the amniotic fluid. Most of these ultrasounds take a few minutes and you’ll be free in almost no time. However, in some situations, a detailed fetal ultrasound examination may be prescribed by your physician. These situations include:
- Suspicions of birth defects
- If you have a family history of a disease
- If you are experiencing abnormal fetal movements or other symptoms
While ultrasound is a very safe procedure, it is recommended for specific numbers of times and specific reasons. It is not recommended to get an ultrasound just to confirm the sex of the fetus and just to take visual memories.
You can get further details regarding the fetal ultrasound from our providers and ask them whether you need a detailed examination. Our healthcare providers will make sure you get the best imaging options for your baby.
Fetal ultrasound is a very convenient and fairly simple procedure. During the procedure, you will be asked to recline on a chair and sit comfortably. Our ultrasound expert will then put some gel on your abdomen. The transducer is then placed over your abdomen and moved around your abdomen to get the images required.
Sometimes, our doctors will ask you to keep a full or empty bladder before your ultrasound, as this helps in getting better images. It is also advised that you wear some loose clothes, so it is easy for you to expose your abdomen. For other types of fetal ultrasounds, you can contact our providers at (847) 808-8884, and they will thoroughly guide you.
After the procedure, you can wipe off the excess gel and can go to the bathroom if you have a full bladder. Your fetal ultrasound will usually tell you that the fetus is growing and developing normally. In case, our providers need more details about your fetus, they may recommend additional tests or other forms of ultrasounds.
Fetal Ultrasound Procedures in Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Barrington & Bartlett, IL
For more information, call Women’s HealthFirst at (847) 808-8884 or request your appointment now. We have five locations near Chicago, Illinois, to serve you. Established patients are encouraged to visit the convenient online patient portal to request an appointment, message our team, update their records, and more.