The Center for Women’s Health offers comprehensive prenatal health care to ensure the health and well‐being of you and your baby throughout your pregnancy and postpartum period. Our personalized prenatal and post‐natal care encompasses preconceptual counseling, ultrasonography (“sonograms”), high‐risk pregnancy counseling and services, and up‐to‐date testing throughout your pregnancy and delivery.
Early Prenatal Care
Receiving early and regular prenatal care can greatly improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Early prenatal care allows your doctor to identify and treat any potential health concerns before they have the opportunity to become bigger problems. And regular prenatal checkups allow you to see how your baby is developing. It is important to keep your regular prenatal appointments, even if you are not experiencing any noticeable issues with your pregnancy.
Pregnancy ultrasound is the use of audio frequency to produce images (sonograms) of the fetus inside the womb. Since its introduction in the late 1950s, ultrasonography has become a very useful diagnostic tool in obstetrics.
A pregnancy ultrasound is a method of seeing the fetus and female pelvic organs during pregnancy. The ultrasound machine sends out high-frequency sound waves, which bounce off body structures to create a picture.
Why Do Doctors Use Ultrasound During A Pregnancy?
Ultrasound scans are considered to be a safe, non-invasive, accurate and cost-effective way to see the fetus and identify potential health concerns. Ultrasound has progressively become an indispensable obstetric tool and plays an important role in the care of every pregnant woman. Some physicians order an ultrasound when an abnormality is suspected, while others advocate regular ultrasounds to screen for potential problems. You should consult your health care provider to determine the most appropriate scanning schedule for you.
Scans may be performed in the first trimester to:
- Confirm a normal pregnancy
- Assess the baby’s age and size
- Rule out abnormalities, such as ectopic pregnancies or potential for miscarriage
- Assess the baby’s heart
- Determine if there are multiple pregnancies
- Identify abnormalities of the placenta, uterus, and other pelvic structures.
Scans may also be obtained in the second and third trimesters to:
- Assess the baby’s age, growth, position, and sometimes gender
- Identify any developmental problems
- Rule out multiple pregnancies
- Evaluate the placenta, amniotic fluid, and remaining structures of the pelvis.
How Is A Pregnancy Ultrasound Performed?
During an ultrasound, you will lie on your back. A clear, water-based conducting gel will be applied to your skin over your abdomen and pelvis. The gel helps transmit sound waves. A hand-held probe is then moved over the area.
Another method is performed with a specially designed probe placed in the vagina of the patient (transvaginal ultrasound scanning). This technique often complements conventional ultrasound techniques by providing better detail. Consult your health care provider to determine which technique is most appropriate for you.
Are Ultrasounds And Sonograms Safe?
There is no documented effect on patients and their fetuses who undergo ultrasound during pregnancy. Unlike X-rays, ionizing radiation is not present.
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