Obstetrical ultrasound is a safe, noninvasive procedure that uses sound waves to create images of the fetus, placenta and amniotic fluid. These images can be viewed in real time on a computer monitor by the patient and doctor. This procedure can be performed transabdominally, which involves moving a transducer across the skin of the lower abdomen, or transvaginally, which involves inserting a transducer into the vagina and rotating it for a comprehensive view of the fetus and surrounding organs. Transvaginal ultrasounds are typically done in the first trimester and transabdominal ones are typically done in the second and third trimester.
An obstetrical ultrasound is performed several times throughout your pregnancy to monitor the growth and development of the fetus. During the first and second trimester, ultrasounds can determine the age of the fetus or detect any potential birth defects, such as Down syndrome. Later in the pregnancy, regular ultrasound exams measure the size, position, and development of the fetus. Ultrasounds can also be used to observe for complications of the placenta and amniotic fluid. At Renaissance Women’s Center, we offer both the traditional 2D ultrasound as well as 3D/4D ultrasound.