Fetal Ultrasounds in Leesburg

Fetal ultrasound is an imaging test used during pregnancy to monitor the health and development of the baby. Also called sonograms, fetal ultrasounds are a safe, non-invasive method of creating images of the baby inside its mother’s uterus.

During a fetal ultrasound in Leesburg, trained obstetricians and technicians evaluate the development and vitals of the baby. There are two main techniques of fetal ultrasounds: transabdominal and transvaginal. Both imaging techniques use a transducer, which emits and receives the sound waves used to create images.

Types of Fetal Ultrasounds

In Leesburg and Centreville, the transvaginal ultrasound is more common during the early stages of pregnancy. Doctors may choose to perform a transvaginal ultrasound to produce a clearer image since the fetus is much smaller and more difficult to see from outside the mother’s body. In addition, insertion allows the transducer to get closer to the fetus. With transabdominal ultrasounds, there are more options:

  • Traditional sonogram produces two-dimensional images.
  • 3-D ultrasound produces three-dimensional representations of 2D images, a complete picture of the fetus, including organs.
  • 4-D sonogram 3-D, with the added element, or dimension, of time, creates a video of fetal movements.
  • Doppler ultrasound shows the blood’s movement through the uterus, umbilical cord, heart, and veins of the baby.
  • A fetal echocardiogram provides a detailed view of the baby’s heart, often used to detect and monitor congenital heart defects.

What Does a Fetal Ultrasound Show?

During the first trimester of pregnancy, a fetal ultrasound can confirm a viable pregnancy, detect the baby’s heartbeat, locate and measure the fetus, determine the gestational age (how long the mother has been pregnant), and estimate a due date. A first-trimester sonogram can also diagnose an ectopic pregnancy or multiple pregnancies such as twins or triplets.

When a mother in Leesburg or Centreville is in her second trimester of pregnancy, a fetal ultrasound can monitor the levels of amniotic fluid. In addition, sonograms at this stage help doctors measure the fetal head, spine, brain, chest, heart, lungs, and other organs and extremities. In short, a sonogram at this time provides detailed measurements during fetal development.

During the third trimester, a fetal ultrasound can show the placement of the placenta, measure the baby’s growth, and determine the sex of the baby. In addition, physicians may perform a fetal ultrasound to assist with amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. Receiving a sonogram at this stage in the pregnancy can also confirm the baby’s position for delivery and allows the doctor to discuss delivery options.

What Happens during Sonograms in Leesburg?

Before a fetal ultrasound, one of our OBGYNs in Leesburg or Centreville may advise the mother to drink several cups of water, then refrain from urinating. A full bladder helps produce more precise images.

During a transabdominal ultrasound, the patient will lie back on the bed or exam table. Then, with the patient’s abdomen exposed, the technician will apply a water-based gel to the mother’s abdomen and pelvic area. The gel, which may feel cold on the skin, helps sound waves travel.

Then, the tech places the transducer onto the mother’s stomach and performs sweeps across the abdomen until an image forms. Once the tech confirms the image quality, they will wipe away the gel. The patient may empty her bladder at this time, if necessary.

For a transvaginal ultrasound, the mother will change into a hospital gown, recline on the exam table or bed, and set her feet into stirrups. A transducer will get inserted into the vagina, where it rests until quality images show.

Speak with an OBGYN in Leesburg About Fetal Ultrasounds

A fetal ultrasound in Leesburg offers reassurance that your baby’s development is normal and healthy. It is an imaging technique that is safe and painless for you and your baby. If you are pregnant and need an experienced and compassionate obstetrician, call one of our offices today.