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An Obstetric Ultrasound is a medical procedure that is ordered by your physician to be used either as a diagnostic tool or as a fetal gender identification process. Ultrasound examinations are not self-referral procedures and do require a signed physician's order before they can be performed.
Ultrasound During Pregnancy
Ultrasound is a key tool in checking the baby's health and development. When your doctor orders and Obstetric Ultrasound, it will fall into one of two categories:
A diagnostic obstetric ultrasound is a medical procedure that uses sound waves to "see" inside the body. During a diagnostic ultrasound, the sonographer will use ultrasound to study the health and well-being of an unborn baby.
A gender ultrasound is not a diagnostic exam. It is a test that will be used to determine fetal gender to the best professional opinion of the sonographer.
Diagnostic OB Ultrasound
A diagnostic ultrasound can provide the following information about the baby:
- Size and growth rate of the baby. It can help determine the due date and check the baby's overall growth and development.
- Position of the baby and placenta to determine if there could be any problems during delivery.
- Provide a "biophysical profile" that includes the baby's movement, breathing and heartbeat-important signs of the baby's health and well-being.
- Amniotic Fluid-the fluid that surrounds and protects the baby. Ultrasound helps check the baby's health by measuring the amount of fluid. It also helps with amniocentesis (using a needle to remove fluid for further study).
- Ultrasound can also help detect multiple babies, certain birth defects and other conditions that could lead to problems during pregnancy or delivery.
A transvaginal ultrasound is another type of diagnostic ultrasound that may be used during the first trimester of a pregnancy, before an abdominal ultrasound can clearly show the baby. It may also be used for better evaluation of the mother's reproductive organs.