Ultrasound, also referred to as sonography, is a non-invasive imaging method that uses sound waves to create images of structures within your body. As an expecting mother, an ultrasound can provide valuable information for your provider – helping them monitor the health of your baby or find the root of your symptoms.
Sonographers are specially trained medical professionals who follow strict protocols to capture the best image possible, ensuring your provider has the information they’ll need to need to identify and treat any related medical conditions.
Obstetric (OB) Ultrasounds
An obstetric ultrasound is used to monitor the health of your baby while still in the womb, as well as the health of your uterus and ovaries.
Your provider may recommend a transvaginal ultrasound in which a lubricated, tubular probe is gently inserted into the vagina; or a transabdominal ultrasound where your sonographer will move a transducer over the top of your belly.
- Early Pregnancy and Dating Ultrasounds are performed at 6-8 weeks gestation. They can confirm your due date and determine the number of babies you’ll have. During an early scan you won’t be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat, but if offered in your local Axia care center, you’ll be able to get that special, first view of your baby when confirming your pregnancy with your provider.
- Anatomy Scans are performed between 21-22 weeks gestation. This scan takes a detailed look at all of your baby’s physical structures and will often – but not always – show the sex of your baby. The quality of the image and ability to determine sex depends on the baby’s position, gestational age, your BMI, and access to unobstructed views. If it’s not possible to capture the necessary views of the baby’s anatomy, the scan will be repeated.
- 3D Ultrasounds create an image similar to a traditional photograph. While this isn’t a diagnostic tool or necessary to ensure the health of your baby, it can provide a fun sneak peek of your little one. Several Axia Women’s Health care centers now offer 3D ultrasound. Ask your provider at your next visit.