Ultrasound, also called a sonogram, uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of organs inside the body. The sound waves move through soft tissue and fluids, but bounce off denser surfaces, and send information back to a computer that turns the sound waves into an image. Since an ultrasound scan does not use radiation, it’s safe to use for babies developing in the womb.
In obstetrics and gynecology, an ultrasound scan may be done transabdominally or transvaginally. The transabdominal approach uses a transducer,a device that sends out radio waves, on the outside of the abdomen to direct the waves down toward the uterus. When ultrasound is performed transvaginally, the transducer is inserted into the vagina.
In obstetrics, an ultrasound scan can be used at any time during the pregnancy to check the baby’s development. It’s often used in the first trimester to verify a viable pregnancy and the due date. In the second trimester, an ultrasound is used to check the heartbeat, measure the baby’s size, and check development. You may learn the sex of your baby during the second trimester ultrasound, but sometimes it can’t be determined due to the baby’s position or gestational age.
Ultrasound scans are also essential diagnostic tools for gynecological exams, because they provide detailed images of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and cervix. Your doctor at Tidewater Physicians for Women may order an ultrasound to diagnose gynecologic problems such as endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, cysts, or tumors. It may also be used to ensure an IUD is in place or to visualize the ovaries during infertility treatments.
Tidewater Physicians for Women provides the most advanced care with highly qualified staff in our accredited Ultrasound Department. Accreditation, from the American Institute for Ultrasound in Medicine, is awarded following a rigorous process that verifies that the Ultrasound Department meets national standards and provides consistent excellence in patient care.
Additionally, all of the professionals who perform our ultrasounds are registered sonographers who’ve passed required examinations, fulfilled ongoing educational requirements, and achieved expertise in performing ultrasound scans.