Advanced Ultrasound Services in Omaha
Using an electronic device called a transducer, the menopause doctors at the Methodist Women's Center use a diagnostic technique called a fetal ultrasound. Your doctor will emit low risk, non-invasive sound waves into your uterus to produce an image of your unborn child. During a fetal ultrasound, doctor will also evalutate the health of various parts of your baby, such as his or her heart, head and spine.
Two types of ultrasounds can be performed during pregnancy. In an abdominal ultrasound, a gel is applied to the abdomen and the ultrasound transducer glides over the gel on the abdomen to create the image. You may need to have a full bladder for abdominal ultrasounds. In a transvaginal ultrasound, a smaller ultrasound transducer is inserted into the vagina. This method produces a sharper image and is often used in the earlier stages of pregnancy.
Types of Ultrasounds
There are several types of fetal ultrasounds, each with specific advantages in certain situations. A Doppler ultrasound, for example, helps to study the movement of blood through the umbilical cord between the fetus and placenta. The standard, two-dimensional ultrasound is most commonly used. If more information is needed, a three-dimensional ultrasound provides a life-like image of baby and allows the doctor to see width, height and depth of images which can be helpful in diagnosis. The latest technology is 4D ultrasound, which allows the health care provider to visualize the unborn baby moving in real time.
Checking for Abnormalities
Fetal abnormalities are relatively uncommon — however, in order to identify and potentially correct any problems, certain fetal structures are checked during a routine ultrasound. These structures include, but are not limited to, the head and brain, heart, abdomen and stomach, urinary bladder, spine, umbilical cord, kidneys and other fetal structures such as limbs.
Nuchal translucency screening also involves using fetal ultrasound. Nuchal refers to the back of the neck. As part of routine screening, this area is checked to see if there is an increase in thickening. The screening occurs sometime near the 10th and 14th weeks of pregnancy. When combined with blood tests, this screening can help to determine the risk of certain birth defects.
If an amniocentesis is done, a fetal ultrasound may be used to help with placement of the needle, which is used to remove a sample of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus.
Fetal ultrasound has no known risks other than mild discomfort due to pressure from the transducer on the abdomen or in the vagina. No radiation is used during the procedure.