What is an obstetric ultrasound?
An obstetric ultrasound or sonography is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of a baby inside the mother’s womb. It also shows pictures of the mother's uterus and ovaries. It is an excellent tool to monitor the well-being of the mother and baby because it is a safe and painless procedure.
An obstetric ultrasound is an important part of ante-natal (before the delivery of the baby) care. It can provide a lot of information about the pregnancy such as
- Presence of a living embryo or fetus
- Age of pregnancy
- Expected date of delivery
- Presence of any abnormalities of the fetus
- Presence of an ectopic pregnancy (the embryo or fetus is present outside the womb)
- Position of the fetus inside the womb
- Position of the placenta and diagnosis of any placental abnormalities
- Number of embryos or fetuses (diagnosis of multiple pregnancies)
- Amount of the amniotic fluid around the developing fetus
- Presence of any opening or shortening of the cervix
- Adequacy of fetal growth
- Fetal well-being
What is a limited obstetrical ultrasound?
A limited ultrasound, as the name suggests, is performed to know about a specific aspect of the pregnancy such as the location of the embryo/fetus (inside the uterus or ectopic), whether the pregnancy is viable and the gestational age. A limited ultrasound does not provide detailed information about the fetal well-being or gender. It just answers the most basic and crucial questions. In early pregnancy, a limited ultrasound is important to rule out or diagnose an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy where the embryo is present outside the uterus), which is a dangerous condition. It may be done during labor to know about the position of the baby inside the uterus. A limited obstetrical ultrasound quickly helps determine the management of conditions such as vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. In such a situation, the ultrasound can tell whether the baby is alive or there are certain placenta abnormalities such as a low-lying placenta (when the placenta covers the cervix).
For example, if a woman is in labor, a limited ultrasound exam may be done to check the fetus’s position in the uterus. If a woman has vaginal bleeding, an ultrasound may be used to see if the fetal heart is still beating or if the placenta is too low.
How many ultrasound examinations are required during pregnancy?
The number of ultrasound examinations required during pregnancy may vary depending on the presence of any complications or need for frequent evaluations. The obstetrician is the best person to tell how many ultrasonography exams a woman needs. It is recommended that at least one standard ultrasound examination must be done during the pregnancy. This is generally done at 18 to 22 weeks of pregnancy, although some women may have the examination done in the first 12 weeks (first trimester) of pregnancy. The ultrasound examination in the first trimester does not provide details about the limbs and organs of the fetus. It can, however, help provide information about several important aspects such as the estimated gestational age, whether the pregnancy is ectopic and the number of fetuses as well as screen for certain genetic conditions.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Is a Limited Obstetrical Ultrasound Related Articles
Pregnancy SymptomsWhat are the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy? Can you know before your missed period? Read about nausea and vomiting (morning sickness), bloating, tender breasts, and more. Explore first trimester symptoms of pregnancy and learn what week pregnancy symptoms start.
Am I Pregnant QuizWhat are early pregnancy symptoms? In some women, symptoms range from a missed period to feeling lightheaded. Others may experience typical "morning sickness" and food cravings. Could you be pregnant? Take the quiz!
Endoscopic UltrasoundEndoscopic ultrasound (EUS) uses ultrasound and endoscopy to take pictures of the digestive tract and the surrounding tissues and organs. EUS may be useful in making several medical determinations, including:
- staging of cancers of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas and rectum,
- staging of lung cancer,
- evaluating chronic pancreatitis,
- studying gallstones and tumors in the bile duct, gallbladder, and liver,
- evaluating reasons for fecal incontinence,
- and studying submucosal lesions.
- drug reactions,
- and a lump in the skin where the IV was placed.
How Do You Do an Obstetric Ultrasound?Cervical cryotherapy is a medical procedure that involves freezing and destroying the abnormal tissue in the cervix (the lower part of the uterus). The procedure may cause some discomfort. Women report some cramping or pressure and a sensation of cold in the vaginal area. Some women do not feel any discomfort or pain during the procedure. It is generally a relatively painless procedure with little or no scarring in the area treated.
Pregnancy: Multiple Births, Twins, Triplets, and MoreMultiple births occur when a woman bears twins, triplets, or even more babies during pregnancy. More multiples are born today thanks to assisted reproductive technology (ART), including in vitro fertilization using fertility drugs. Women carrying multiples often give birth via C-section.
Pregnancy: Prenatal Care and TestsPrenatal care is important for the health of the mother and the baby. Common prenatal tests include ultrasound, amniocentesis, screening for group B strep, and chronic villus sampling. Prenatal care also helps detect health conditions related to pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Prenatal care costs can be expensive, but services are available to help women get the care they need.
Prenatal UltrasoundA prenatal ultrasound test uses high-frequency sound waves, inaudible to the human ear, that are transmitted through the abdomen via a device called a transducer to look at the inside of the abdomen. With prenatal ultrasound, the echoes are recorded and transformed into video or photographic images of your baby. An ultrasound examination is also known as a sonogram.
Stages of PregnancySee pictures on the various stages of pregnancy. See and learn what changes a woman's body goes through and view fetal images of how her baby grows during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
Pregnancy: 7 Common Third Trimester TestsTesting is often recommended during the third trimester of pregnancy. These tests are designed to ensure the health and safety of both the child and mother. Common tests during the third trimester of a woman's pregnancy include:
- group B streptococcus screening,
- electronic fetal heart monitoring,
- nonstress test,
- contraction stress test, and
- a biophysical profile.
UltrasoundUltrasound (and ultrasonography) is imaging of the body used in the medical diagnosis and screening of diseases and conditions such as:
- heart valve irregularities,
- carotid artery disease,
- heart disease,
- kidney stones,
- liver disease,
- diseases of the female reproductive, and
- diseases of the male reproductive organs.
What Is the Principle of Ultrasonography?Ultrasound devices send ultrasonic soundwaves through tissue. The device measures how long the waves take to “echo” or return to the device, much like SONAR used by submarines. The programming in the device uses that data to assemble an image nearly in real time; different densities of tissue show up as different concentrations of lighted pixels on the screen, allowing doctors to map the internal structure of the organ or tissue.