Ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure that works by sending sound waves directly at your internal organs and detecting any echos that bounce back.

At NCCRM, your OB/GYN or infertility doctor Cary can accurately evaluate your uterus, ovaries and other reproductive organs for fertility testing and treatments. This assessment is especially crucial during pregnancies.

What is an Ultrasound Scan?

Ultrasound scans are non-invasive medical tests that use sound waves to create images of the insides of your body. They can be used to detect various health conditions, and are particularly helpful during pregnancy as it gives you a detailed view of all your baby's organs.

Ultrasound imaging is a diagnostic procedure in which a doctor or sonographer uses an instrument known as a transducer to send sound waves through your body and reflect them back in the form of an image on a monitor. Echoes bounce off tissues within your body before being picked up by computer for display onscreen.

You will be asked to lie face-up on a table that can be tilted or moved for better images. A technician will apply water-based gel onto the area of your body that requires imaging, eliminating air between the transducer and skin so sound waves reflect back for improved image quality.

Before having an abdominal scan, you may be advised to abstain from eating or drinking for several hours. Likewise, if the examination involves your ovaries or womb, you might need to empty your bladder so the equipment can easily access this area of your pelvis.

Ultrasound exams typically last 30-90 minutes, and a technologist will speak with you throughout the procedure. They can explain what they see and how the pictures are created.

Ultrasound imaging consists of breast scans, abdominal/obstetric scans and musculoskeletal scans. Ultrasound can also be used to guide surgeons during procedures like biopsies or laparoscopic surgeries.

Ultrasound tests can be performed at a hospital, clinic or imaging centre. You might be referred to a private ultrasound specialist who is an experienced healthcare professional with specialized training in performing these tests.

Ultrasound scans are the primary reason to have an ultrasound exam on your baby. The pictures taken can show the size, position and amount of amniotic fluid present, as well as whether they are developing normally and if there are any birth defects present. Furthermore, ultrasounds can help identify an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancies that do not take place inside the uterus).

Abdominal Scan

Abdominal ultrasound is a test that allows your doctor to visualize what's occurring inside of your abdomen (belly). Your abdominal cavity consists of your stomach, large and small intestines, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and blood vessels; these organs help break down food into energy for your body while excreting waste products through bowel movement. They also regulate blood pressure and electrolyte balance as well as stimulate red blood cell production.

An abdominal ultrasound is one of the best ways to determine if you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a medical condition in which your aorta bulges and poses risk of rupture and internal bleeding. This condition should never be ignored!

Ultrasound imaging involves moving a transducer, or handheld probe, over your abdomen and applying water-based conducting gel to the skin. This helps direct sound waves from the probe towards what you want to examine.

Reflected sound waves are recorded on a computer screen, so a radiologist or sonographer can use these images to diagnose any health issues you may have.

Your doctor may suggest an abdominal ultrasound if you experience symptoms of an enlarged or abnormal abdomen, such as pain, swelling and tenderness. Additionally, this test helps detect conditions which could interfere with conception such as endometriosis or polyps in the uterus.

Abdominal ultrasound exams are generally safe and painless. They're usually conducted in a hospital or doctor's office setting, without the need for sedation - meaning you can go home right after the exam.

Before your ultrasound, you will be instructed to abstain from eating or drinking for at least four hours. This makes the procedure simpler and faster, plus any valuables should be left at home.

Once checked in, the procedure should take no more than an hour. You'll lie flat while a clear water-based conducting gel is applied to your skin and you may be asked to change positions as necessary.

Once the test is over, you'll be taken to a private area to get dressed and use the restroom if needed. You'll also receive a towel to wipe away gel from your belly as well as an overview report from the radiologist that details all images captured during your examination.

Vaginal Scan

If you're trying to conceive or are already pregnant and want a glimpse of your baby, an ultrasound scan is an essential part of pregnancy care. The results can be used to assess both your pregnancy status and chromosome status, detect any abnormalities and estimate when to expect delivery.

If you have a history of infertility, regular pelvic ultrasounds may be recommended to monitor your fertility. These scans can detect problems like ovarian cysts, fibroids or polyps in your uterus that could be interfering with pregnancy or your chances of conceiving.

Your doctor will insert a thin device (transducer) into your vagina to take images of your pelvic cavity, including the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. This helps diagnose pregnancy problems like ectopic pregnancies--when an unfertilized egg implants outside of the uterus in one or more fallopian tubes.

Transducers can also be inserted into your bladder to detect whether there is fluid in the tubular canal (hydrosalpinx). This method helps identify women who may have pelvic inflammatory disease, which could eventually lead to infertility.

A pelvic ultrasound can also aid your doctor in diagnosing other health conditions, such as uterine cancers and ovarian cancers. The radiologist uses these results to make recommendations about treatment options for you.

You can have a pelvic ultrasound at any point during your menstrual cycle, though we recommend waiting until after bleeding has ended and the lining of your uterus is thinnest for best results. Of course, you are always welcome to change appointments if necessary for optimal outcomes.

In some instances, you may be asked to empty your bladder before the procedure in order for the ultrasound technician to get a clear view of your pelvic organs. Some women are even given medicine that relaxes them and causes them to sleep during the scan.

Ultrasound scans don't use radiation, making them a safe and non-invasive method to check the health of your reproductive organs. It's essential to remember that an ultrasound cannot diagnose every condition, so always speak with your doctor prior to having one done. For women trying to conceive, having a trans-vaginal scan is especially crucial so any underlying issues can be identified before beginning treatments.

Obstetric Scan

An obstetric scan is a test that allows your doctor to visualize your baby's growth inside your uterus. This procedure uses high-frequency sound waves to create images (sonograms) of your developing baby.

Ultrasounds are used to detect and diagnose birth defects or hereditary conditions in order to monitor your pregnancy and plan future medical treatment. They are safe for both you and your baby, with no known harmful side effects.

Sonographers use an ultrasound probe to transmit high-frequency sound waves into your body. As these echoes bounce off different parts of you, the probe picks up on them and creates an image of what lies within. These images are displayed on a television monitor for easy viewing.

An obstetric scan can detect an early miscarriage, multiple fetuses, abnormal growth patterns and more. It also allows you to assess your uterine arteries, fetal heart rate, placenta position and cervix health.

If your obstetrician believes your baby may have a heart defect, such as trisomy 21 or an irregularly long heartbeat (arrhythmia), they may suggest fetal echocardiography. This ultrasound takes more time than standard pregnancy ultrasound but produces an in-depth image of your baby's heart.

Your obstetrician can use ultrasound imaging to assess your baby's growth and anatomy, including the size of your uterus and organs. It also displays the heart's shape and location - helpful when diagnosing congenital heart defects.

These exams are typically performed during the second trimester of pregnancy, between 18-22 weeks. They're also referred to as level-two ultrasounds or the 20-week anatomy scan.

An obstetric scan allows your doctor to examine your baby's brain, face, abdominal (kidneys, stomach, bladder and liver), lungs, diaphragm and spinal structure. They may even be able to identify your baby's sex organs during this process.

If you would like to know your baby's gender, ask your obstetrician at the start of your scan. However, bear in mind that sex organs may be difficult to identify during an obstetric scan due to your baby's positioning.