It's easy to feel anxious about the health of your unborn baby or to feel the urge to "see" your baby before you give birth. Our experts are here to share in your joy when you see your baby's face and to ease your mind about your baby's health, too.
What Is a Sonogram (Ultrasound) Used For?
An ultrasound, or sonogram, is a type of noninvasive imaging that uses sound waves to take pictures of structures inside the body. Ultrasounds do not harm your baby. They are used to:
- Diagnose health conditions
- Find the cause of certain health conditions
- Assess damage from many conditions
- Guide doctors in performing some procedures
During your pregnancy, you'll undergo routine ultrasounds performed by a licensed healthcare professional. These routine ultrasounds show you and your doctor your unborn baby. They also help your doctor:
- Confirm you are pregnant
- Evaluate your baby's size, age, position, body parts and blood flow
- Check for multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.) and pregnancy complications, such as ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and molar pregnancy (the abnormal growth of cells that normally become the placenta)
- Examine your reproductive organs, such as your ovaries and uterus, and determine the cause of any bleeding you may be experiencing
- Screen for birth defects like heart defects, spina bifida, and problems with the amniotic fluid, placenta or cervix
- Guide procedures, such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling
Pregnancy Ultrasound Types
We perform different types of pregnancy ultrasound, including:
- Nuchal translucency test (first trimester ultrasound): This test measures the space in the tissue on the back of your baby’s neck. A larger-than-average space is a sign of too much fluid. When there is too much fluid during the first trimester, it could mean a higher risk for birth defects, such as Down syndrome and congenital heart problems.
- Growth ultrasound (growth scan): During the third trimester, these ultrasounds help your doctor determine whether your baby’s a healthy size.
- Doppler assessment (fetal Doppler): Fetal Doppler studies the movement of blood in your baby’s blood vessels, in the placenta and in your uterus.
We provide level 2 ultrasounds for our patients. Level 2 ultrasound scans show you and your doctor a detailed image of your baby around 20 weeks of pregnancy. Also called a 20-week ultrasound or 20-week anatomy scan, a level 2 ultrasound is routine imaging that provides important information about:
- Your baby's body parts, such as the bladder, brain, heart, kidneys, spine, stomach and sex organs to evaluate growth and development
- Hard and soft markers, whose presence may show an increased risk of a chromosomal abnormality
- The gender, if desired
We also offer 3-D ultrasounds and 4-D ultrasounds, which are moving 3-D images.
Getting a pregnancy ultrasound is an exciting milestone. It's normal to feel curious and even a little nervous about any kind of testing. Here is what you can expect at your appointment:
- Your sonographer will place gel and a small probe on your abdomen and move it around. The probe delivers sound waves through your skin to your baby.
- When the waves reach the baby, the probe sends the information to a computer. The computer reads the waves to produce a 2-D, 3-D or 4-D picture of the baby, depending on the technology.
- Because of the detailed nature of this ultrasound, your visit may take a couple of hours.
Our Approach to Pregnancy Ultrasound
- National expertise: Our Prenatal Diagnosis Center is one of the nation's largest and most experienced providers of medical and genetic tests.
- High-risk pregnancy specialists: Our doctors are maternal-fetal medicine specialists. These doctors take care of women who are experiencing a high-risk, or complicated, pregnancy. After our highly trained sonographers perform ultrasounds, our doctors use their specialized training to read the scans in greater detail and specificity than other doctors.
- Leading diagnostic technology: Our level 2 ultrasound delivers high-quality, detailed images of your baby. This quality and level of detail helps doctors make faster, more accurate diagnoses and create personalized, effective treatment plans.
To speed the scheduling process, please complete the Ultrasound and NST Form [PDF] and return it to us via fax at 310-423-9939. A patient representative will then contact you to schedule your appointment for your pregnancy ultrasound.