• Preparing for an Obstetrical Ultrasound

    • You should wear a loose-fitting, two-piece outfit for the examination. Only the lower abdominal area needs to be exposed during this procedure.
    • If an ultrasound is ordered by your clinician early in your pregnancy (1st Trimester), you will need to drink 24 ounces of fluid (water, juice, coffee or tea) finished one hour prior. Be sure not to empty your bladder. A full bladder is needed for the procedure. Air interferes with sound waves, so if your bladder is distended, the air-filled bowel is pushed out of the way by the bladder and an image of the uterus and embryo or fetus is obtained.
    • The radiologist or sonographer may elect to examine an early pregnancy by means of transvaginal ultrasound. This requires an empty urinary bladder. You should ask for specific instructions for this imaging study when you make your appointment.
  • What to Expect During the Exam

    • During the exam, a sonographer trained in ultrasound imaging will press a small hand-held transducer against your skin and move it over the area being examined. A small amount of gel will be used to help eliminate air pockets between your skin and the device.
    • If you are receiving a transvaginal ultrasound, the transducer will be attached to a probe and inserted into the vagina to view the uterus and ovaries. This exam is performed with the bladder empty.
    • The transducer sends information to a computer, which composes detailed images based on the patterns created by the sound waves.
    • Ultrasound is usually a painless procedure. However, you may experience some mild discomfort as the sonographer guides the transducer into or over your body, especially if you're required to have a full bladder. A typical ultrasound exam takes from 30 minutes to an hour.

  • After the Exam

    • You may wish to empty your bladder before leaving the facility.
    • There should be little to no lasting discomfort after your procedure, and there are no post-procedure requirements for patients.

  • About Obstetrical Ultrasounds

    Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the fetus and beating heart.

    Obstetrical ultrasound provides pictures of an embryo or fetus within a woman's uterus.

    During an obstetrical ultrasound the examiner may evaluate blood flow in the umbilical cord or may in some cases assess blood flow in the fetus or placenta.

    Emerson Hospital does provide a perinatology, high-risk OB clinic with genetic counseling.

    For additional information visit www.radiologyinfo.org