Obstetrics & Prenatal
State-of-the-Art Ultrasound Test
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 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.
An obstetrical ultrasound is performed several times throughout pregnancy to monitor the growth and development of the fetus. During the first trimester, an ultrasound can determine the age of the fetus or screen for any potential birth defects, such as Down syndrome. Later in the pregnancy, regular ultrasound exams measure the size and position of the fetus, placenta and amniotic fluid to help ensure that delivery will not have any major complications.
The results of this procedure are visible immediately on a computer screen for the doctor and patient to view together. More detailed results are usually available within one to two days, which your doctor will analyze for any additional information. Normal results will show a healthy fetus that has a normal size, heart and breathing rate and no visible birth defects.
An abnormal ultrasound may indicate a fetus that is too small or underdeveloped for its age, in a breech position or a birth defect such as absent kidneys or anencephaly. It can also indicate serious problems such as an ectopic pregnancy or lack of a fetal heartbeat. If abnormal results occur, your doctor may need to perform additional testing.
Ultrasounds are one of the most commonly performed diagnostic procedures and have been safely used for years for fetal monitoring and many other purposes. It is painless, and no needles or ionizing radiation are used during this procedure, eliminating the common risks of other diagnostic procedures.
Traditional two-dimensional ultrasound can provide a lot of information about a baby, but the grainy black-and-white images don’t offer much of a view. Technological advances have allowed for the creation of 3D and 4D ultrasound so impending parents can truly get a detailed first look at their baby. Strictly elective, a 3D and 4D ultrasound does not replace a diagnostic ultrasound to evaluate the gestational age and anatomy of the fetus.
This state-of-the-art technology can make for an incredible bonding experience between parents and baby. You will actually be able to watch the baby turn, yawn or suck on a tiny finger. With its real-time capabilities, 3D and 4D ultrasound helps you get a view of every one of your baby’s movements.
Ultrasound in 3D/4D is just as safe as traditional 2D ultrasound; in fact, it employs the exact same sound waves to obtain images. However, the more advanced devices process the data in a more sophisticated way so each image contains more layers and provides a much fuller, more complete view of the baby.
A 3D and 4D ultrasound procedure is typically performed any time after 25 weeks of pregnancy. By that point, the baby’s features are distinct. Ideally, it should be done before the final few weeks of pregnancy so the baby has room to turn, which will provide you with a better variety of images and is especially important if the baby is facing away from the ultrasound device.
The cost of a 3D/4D ultrasound is $150.00 for a singleton and $250 for multiples (twin, triplets, etc).