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    What does a baby fetal ultrasound show?

    Posted by Ravi Sohal on Tue, Jul 21, 2009

    Ultrasound tests are used to detect and monitor disease. They use sound waves to create images of the internal organs of the body. They are used frequently to evaluate pelvic organs such as the uterus, ovaries, bladder.  Of course, ultrasound is used quite extensively to monitor pregnancy:

    • Confirm that the pregnancy is in the uterus (and not an ectopic in the tubes for example).
    • Determine that early pregnancies are viable and the fetus is growing appropriately, particularly if the mother is bleeding.
    • Perform screening during the pregnancy to ensure the fetus is growing normally, moving, has a good heartbeat, detect congenital abnormalities, etc.
    • In late pregnancy, ultrasounds are also performed to confirm the position of the baby (head or feet down), for example.

    Ultrasounds can be performed in different settings such as the hospital, Ob/Gyn office, and outpatient Radiology center. The procedure can take up to 1 hour (depending on the stage of the pregnancy). Below is a short outline of the procedure:

    1. After you sign in, you'll be taken to the ultrasound room.
    2. The ultrasound technician will perform the test.
    3. Once you enter the room, you will lie down on a bed/gurney.
    4. The technologist will ask you to lift up your clothing, exposing your stomach and upper pelvis area.
    5. He or she will place a a warmed gel solution over the skin.
    6. The technologist will use an ultrasound probe and glide it over your abdomen while taking pictures. Some pictures will be captured as mini-movies (see the example video of a 20 week fetal ultrasound below).
    7. Some facilities will give you a 1 or 2 page black and white small "polaroid" type of picture to take home.
    8. The technologist may ask the Radiologist doctor to review the scan before you leave.
    9. An official report is generated by the doctor in about 24-48 hours.

    If you are insured ultrasounds during pregnancy are routinely covered. However, many uninsured expectant mothers forgo paying for the tests as they can be quite expensive. You can expect to pay anywhere between $250 to $750 for this test.

    Below is a sample video of a 20 week fetal ultrasound. The study is labeled to help orient you to the baby.

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