In This Section
Having a baby? View Our Frequently Asked Questions
Fetal ultrasound provides you and your obgyn with a first glimpse of your developing baby. An ultrasound produces a picture of the baby to monitor the size and position of the fetus and check for problems. This type of imaging is non-invasive and uses sound waves to produce an image. Ultrasound results may estimate the due date, check for multiple pregnancies, and find major birth defects. No radiation is used, so there is no risk for you or the baby.
Types of Ultrasounds
How To Prepare
You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your prenatal appointment. The test most likely needs to be done with a full bladder. For transvaginal ultrasound or those in late pregnancy, a full bladder usually isn't necessary.
What To Expect
The ultrasound usually takes less than 30 minutes. The patient is usually positioned on an examination table and clear gel is applied to the abdomen. This improves conduction of sound waves and eliminates air between the transducer, a small plastic device that sends out sound waves and records them as they bounce back, and your skin. The transducer moves back and forth over the abdomen, directing sound waves into the uterus and capturing the reflected sounds waves that are digitally converted into images.