Megan Ramsey’s common questions about OB Ultrasounds blog

1: What is an ultrasound?

During an ultrasound, an image is made by sending very high frequency sound waves into a person’s body. Those sound waves bounce off your tissues, and echo back. Those sound waves are sent out and come back through our transducers (the instruments we hold). The ultrasound machine then converts those sound waves into a black and white image on the screen. Gel is used to help conduct the sound waves into your body.

2: What type of ultrasound might I have?

There are two common methods we use in order to get the best images:

Transabdominal ultrasound – Gel is spread over your abdomen, and we slide our transducer around at different angles to get the images we need. Typically, those are performed in the second and third trimester.

Transvaginal ultrasound – A transducer is inserted a few inches into the vagina in order to obtain the images. These are performed in the first trimester when the baby is too small to be seen by transabdominal ultrasound. We can also do very precise measurements of the cervix with transvaginal ultrasound.

3: How many will I have in my pregnancy?

Most patients will have an ultrasound in the first trimester (around 8-9 weeks) to obtain an accurate due date, see how many babies there are, and evaluate the uterus and ovaries. The second one is typically around 20 weeks. That is when we can look at the baby’s developing organs, make sure the baby is growing well, look at the placenta and amniotic fluid, and we can typically see the gender. Some patients may have ultrasounds throughout the third trimester to monitor fetal movement, and watch growth and amniotic fluid more closely. Those ultrasounds are up to the doctor’s discretion.

4: Is it safe?

Yes! There are no known risks to your baby by having an ultrasound. Since only high frequency sound waves are used, there is no radiation emitted. Your baby cannot hear or feel the sound waves. Our practice is accredited through the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, which means we stay up to date with the most accurate and safest applications of ultrasound in pregnancy.