Ultrasound uses echoes of high-frequency sound waves to create images of conditions within the body. The ultrasound transducer both sends and receives sound waves, which are then converted into an image, based on the minute time differences in the echoed waves. The waves are non-invasive and present no form of radiation, like X-rays do. There’s typically no preparation for an ultrasound test, though you may be asked to come to the test with a full bladder for some ultrasounds, or asked to avoid food and drink for others. There’s no pain or discomfort during an ultrasound test apart from the pressure of the transducer, which is usually minimal, although scanning a particularly tender area may cause discomfort.
During the first trimester, ultrasound testing evaluates the initial condition of the pregnancy, confirming the presence, size, and number of fetuses. Sonographic genetic screening is possible, and the mother’s uterus and cervix are checked for abnormalities. Fetal anatomy is checked At 18-20 weeks, fetal anatomy and pregnancy progression are checked. Additional ultrasounds may be done later if there are conditions that need to be monitored, such as fetal growth and amniotic fluid volume.
Ultrasounds permit views of the reproductive organs in a woman’s pelvis. The ovaries, cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes can all be observed using ultrasound imaging. Solid organs, such as the ovaries and uterus, as well as fluid-filled organs such as the bladder show up clearly in pelvic ultrasounds.
Transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasounds are used for imaging a pregnancy or reproductive organs. Transabdominal transducers read through the abdomen, the typical pregnancy-style ultrasound. Transvaginal transducers are inserted into the vagina to create images. This type of ultrasound may be used to check specific issues during pregnancy or to help diagnose various gynecological issues.