What is an ultrasound?
Ultrasound obtains images by using high-frequency sound waves. The waves are directed at the area of the body being imaged which bounce off internal structures and create echoes. These echoes are then translated by a computer into images, which are reviewed by the radiologist to provide a diagnosis. Also known as sonography, this test does not use any form of radiation and is completely safe.
What are ultrasounds used for?
Ultrasounds are used frequently in prenatal care to obtain images of fetuses, but they also have many other uses. These other uses include imaging the heart and blood vessels, organs in the abdomen and pelvis, the thyroid gland, muscles, and more.
Ultrasounds for women’s health and pregnancy
Since it delivers no ionizing radiation, it is often used to evaluate the reproductive system and is commonly used in prenatal imaging to ensure that a baby is healthy and growing normally.
What should I expect during an ultrasound?
Ultrasound is a generally painless test, but it is possible that you may experience mild discomfort as the sonographer guides the transducer over your body. Certain ultrasound tests require your bladder to be full, which can be the cause of discomfort. Transvaginal ultrasound requires the insertion of the ultrasound transducer into a woman’s body. Most ultrasound examinations are completed in 30 minutes to an hour.
How do I prepare for an ultrasound?
Your preparation will depend on the type of ultrasound test you are having:
For Pregnancy or Pelvic Examinations:
- Your bladder must be full for this test. Drink at least 32 ounces of liquid one hour prior to your examination. We recommend that you avoid caffeinated beverages.
- Please do not urinate until after your test is completed. If you are very uncomfortable, please notify our staff when you arrive.
- You may eat normally before your test.
- Do not eat food or drink liquid after midnight.
- Allow 45-60 minutes for the examination.
- Drink 20 ounces of water one full hour before your examination.
Examination of any other part of the body:
- No special preparation is required.