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Sonography: What to Expect

Posted 02/17/2018

Sonography: What to Expect

Sonography is an important medical tool used throughout a woman’s pregnancy. A sonographer – a medical professional who specializes in running and interpreting these tests – will monitor the fetus at several points throughout the pregnancy to make sure everything is developing properly.

What Is a Sonogram?

A sonogram is the name of an ultrasound scan that looks at the fetus, womb and surrounding areas. It’s a non-invasive procedure that creates an image based on sound waves and the information that’s relayed to the sonogram machine through these waves. The image most commonly associated with a sonogram is the classic black and white image showing a fetus once it starts to resemble a baby.

In many cases, medical practitioners will use the terms sonogram and ultrasound interchangeably. Since a sonogram is a specific type of ultrasound scan, either phrase works. The procedure isn’t loud, as the sound waves are high-frequency and beyond the range of human hearing. A probe transducer is held on the stomach or inserted vaginally to begin the scanning process. The sonographer may put a gel over a person’s abdomen if they’re going to ultrasound externally. A sonogram usually doesn’t cause significant pain or discomfort.

Sonograms are used throughout the pregnancy to check on the development of the fetus, to detect problems in advance of live birht, to confirm the viability of a fetus, to diagnose abnormalities, discover the baby’s gender and perform other checks. An ob-gyn typically orders these tests and works with a sonographer to run them.

Types of Sonograms

Sonograms come in many forms, with a few that are only used during certain parts of the pregnancy. The first procedure that some women get is a transvaginal sonogram early on in the pregnancy. This method makes it easier to get images of the fetus at the beginning of its development. A transvaginal sonogram may confirm a pregnancy and/or monitor womb health in the first trimester.

The standard sonogram comes into play throughout the rest of the pregnancy, especially if the fetus develops normally, the pregnancy is low-risk and the doctor doesn’t detect any problems.

An advanced ultrasound uses a different set of equipment entirely. The primary purpose of this procedure is to get an up-close look at a particular area on the fetus, either within the uterus or in the placenta. This type of ultrasound helps diagnose problems during pregnancy to determine the appropriate treatment plan going forward.

3-D and 4-D sonograms are elective and often get used for creating keepsake images of the fetus as it develops. The probes and scanning technology used by this type of ultrasound form incredibly detailed photos for parents of their baby-to-be. They may choose to add it to a baby book or create a birth announcement with the scans. The Institute for Women’s Health offers this type of scan in addition to the medically necessary ultrasounds.

A fetal echocardiography is another form of ultrasound that typically is used to determine whether or not there’s a problem with the pregnancy. This test specifically looks at the fetus’ heart if the parents have heart defects, abnormalities were found on another ultrasound or if these problems run in the family. Discovering these issues early on makes it possible to create a treatment plan before the delivery.

When Should You Get Sonograms

Women who get a positive pregnancy test confirmed by their ob-gyn should discuss the best time to begin sonograms. The frequency depends on many factors, such as the mother’s history of pregnancies, a family history of abnormalities during birth and the overall health of the mother and fetus.

The ob-gyn works with the parents to order sonograms as needed at the Institute for Women’s Health. Frequent ultrasounds allow the ob-gyn to track the development of the fetus and to detect issues that could endanger the life of the mother or the baby in advance.

What to Look for Out of San Antonio Sonography

Choosing the right provider for San Antonio sonograms requires careful thought. The woman’s ob-gyn may already work closely with their own sonographer and offer this service on-site. In the event that the patient needs to go to a provider outside of their current reproductive healthcare provider, they should look for a practice with a lot of experience in creating these scans.

The office should be clean, with professional staff who are friendly and helpful. The technology they use should be modern, as detailed scans can make it easier for health issues to be diagnosed and treated properly. Another thing women need to consider during the selection process is how easy the office location is to get to and the hours the physicians offer.

Pregnancy can create a lot of disruptions to a typical schedule, especially during high-risk pregnancies which may pose health risks for the mother. When a practice offers flexible scheduling and extended hours, it’s much easier for women to go to all of their recommended ultrasound appointments. The Institute for Women’s Health is proud to offer convenient office hours, including mornings, evenings and weekends, to its patients.

Would you like to discuss sonograms with an experienced San Antonio sonography practice? Make an appointment today at the Institute for Women’s Health, where your health matters.

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