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An ultrasound, also called a sonogram, is a valuable diagnostic tool that can confirm pregnancy and determine the gestational age of a fetus. The excellent team of medical specialists at Access Health Care in Downers Grove, Illinois, have extensive experience in performing ultrasounds. If you’re in the greater Chicagoland area and you’d like to know more about this procedure, call or book your request appointment online today.

Ultrasound Q & A

What is an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is a diagnostic procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves, to record photographic and/or video images of your uterus, cervix, amniotic sac, placenta, ovaries, and fetus.

What Does This Procedure Entail?

There are two ways to perform an ultrasound during pregnancy: through the skin on your abdomen, or through the inside of the vagina.

During a vaginal ultrasound, an ultrasound wand is inserted into your vagina. It may be a little uncomfortable, but not painful.

During an abdominal ultrasound, cool water-soluble gel is applied to your stomach over which the ultrasound wand is glided. The gel acts as a conductive medium to heighten the quality of the image.

For an abdominal ultrasound, you’ll lie on your back or side as a handheld instrument, called a transducer, is moved back and forth across the area being examined.

You will be instructed, if necessary, to hold your breath to prevent motion at various times. The procedure usually takes between 30-60 minutes.

What Information About Pregnancy Can An Ultrasound reveal?

An ultrasound can detect a pregnancy as early as three weeks after conception. It can also:

Estimate gestational age of the fetus
See the position of the placenta
Determine size, position, breathing, and heart rate of the fetus
Determine whether there are multiple pregnancies (twins)
Rule out an ectopic pregnancy
Screen for certain birth defects

What Happens Afterward?

The images from your ultrasound are reviewed by a radiologist, and the findings are then discussed with you.

Are Ultrasounds Safe?

Yes. Ultrasounds have been used in pregnancy for decades. They create images via high-frequency sound waves and do not use any radiation like X-ray tests do. Furthermore, research shows that there is no evidence that these scans are harmful when the procedure is performed properly following standard guidelines.