Obstetric ultrasound uses sound waves to produce pictures of a baby (embryo or fetus) within a pregnant woman, as well as the mother's uterus and ovaries. It does not use ionizing radiation, has no known harmful effects, and is the preferred method for monitoring pregnant women and their unborn babies. A Doppler ultrasound study – a technique that evaluates blood flow in the umbilical cord, fetus or placenta – may be part of this exam.
At StarCare, our doctors perform the ultrasound exam ourselves in our offices. Our offices are equipped with the state of the art 3/4 D color ultrasound. We have provided hundreds of expectant families the unique and priceless opportunity of seeing their unborn baby in remarkable detail, and recording the pictures and live HD videos onto a DVD.
We provide a wide range of obstetric ultrasound services:
- establish the presence of a living embryo/fetus
- detect miscarriages and ectopic pregnancy
- estimate the age of the pregnancy
- diagnose congenital abnormalities of the fetus
- determine if there are multiple pregnancies
- assess fetal growth
- assess fetal well-being
- assess gestational age
- estimate fetal weight
- survey fetal anatomy
- determine the sex of the baby
- evaluate the position of the fetus
- evaluate the position of the placenta
- determine the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby
- check for opening or shortening of the cervix
- Evaluation of the maternal uterus, tubes, ovaries, and surrounding structures
- 3D and 4D imaging of the fetus
What are the benefits and risks of Obstetric Ultrasound?
- Ultrasound is easy-to-use and less expensive than other imaging methods.
- Ultrasound is extremely safe and does not use any ionizing radiation.
- Ultrasound gives a clear picture of soft tissues that do not show up well on x-ray images.
- Ultrasound is the preferred imaging modality for the diagnosis and monitoring of pregnant women and their unborn babies.
- Ultrasound has been used to evaluate pregnancy for nearly four decades and there has been no evidence of harm to the patient, embryo or fetus.
- Ultrasound allows the doctor to see inside the uterus and provides much information about the pregnancy.
- Prenatal 2D and 3D/4D ultrasound has a positive impact on antenatal emotional maternal-fetal bonding, particularly when performed in the first trimester.
- 3D Ultrasound may have the potential benefit to strengthen the support system for families expecting their newborns.
- For standard diagnostic ultrasound, there are no known harmful effects on humans.
What are the limitations of Obstetrical Ultrasound Imaging?
Obstetric ultrasound cannot identify all fetal abnormalities. Consequently, when there are clinical or laboratory suspicions for a possible abnormality, a pregnant woman may have to undergo non-radiologic testing such as amniocentesis (the evaluation of fluid taken from the sac surrounding the fetus) or chorionic villus sampling (evaluation of placental tissue) to determine the health of the fetus, or she may be referred by her primary care provider to a perinatologist (an obstetrician specializing in high-risk pregnancies).