Sometimes, healthcare providers want to take a look inside their patients. They may want to look for the source of a symptom such as pain or abnormal bleeding. They might want to rule out a medical condition. Or if a patient is pregnant, providers want to check on the baby's development.
The safest, most effective way to peek inside you is often with an ultrasound exam. As its name suggests, ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of your internal organs or, if you're pregnant, of your baby's growing body.
At Associates in Women’s Health in Cincinnati, we offer our patients two-dimensional (2D), three-dimensional (3D), and four-dimensional (4D) ultrasounds. The type of ultrasound you receive depends on several factors, such as what your provider is checking to see. Read on to learn what you can expect during your ultrasound.
How ultrasounds work
An ultrasound is a medical imaging test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images. The test is performed by a sonographer who is specially trained in diagnostic ultrasound technology.
Sound waves enter your body through a transponder that your sonographer guides along your belly or other body part, or inserts into your vagina. The sound waves bounce off your internal organs (or your baby, if you are pregnant) and create images on a computer screen. Your sonographer and doctor view the images to learn more about the health of your body or your baby.
If you are pregnant, an ultrasound gives your provider information about your baby's development.
Ultrasound can also be used to check on health conditions in your body, including breast lumps, gallbladder problems, cancer, cysts, fibroids, and problems in your ovaries, uterus, and other reproductive organs.
Ultrasound during pregnancy
A pregnancy ultrasound can give your provider information about various facets of your baby's development, including:
- Congenital abnormalities
- Number of babies you're carrying
- Whether your placenta is in the right location
- Your baby's due date
- Your baby's gender (sometimes)
- Your baby's heart rate
- Your baby's position in your uterus
- Your baby's size and weight
Types of ultrasounds
If you're pregnant, you may receive a 3D fetal ultrasound. This type of ultrasound gives a clearer view than a 2D ultrasound of features in your baby's body, such as their face, spine, or heart. For example, a 3D ultrasound can be used to diagnose spinal defects such as spina bifida, heart defects, and facial conditions such as cleft palate.
You may also have the option of receiving a 4D ultrasound. A 4D ultrasound is like a 3D ultrasound in the detail it provides. However, 3D images are still, and 4D images show movement and are captured in the form of video.
Care for all your women’s health needs
The providers here at Associates in Women’s Health in Cincinnati look forward to caring for you at every stage of your life, from adolescence to menopause and beyond. To schedule an ultrasound or a visit, call our office at 513-794-1500, or request an appointment via our online portal today.