Obstetrical Ultrasound

Obstetrical Ultrasound

Ultrasound during pregnancy is arguably the most well-known use of ultrasound. It is a safe, noninvasive, and accurate form of investigation of a fetus, and has become an indispensible tool in the role of obstetrical care.

Some of the most common types of obstetrical ultrasounds we perform include:


A very important part of routine obstetrical care, a baseline ultrasound is a complete head-to-toe anatomical survey of your developing fetus and is typically performed between the 19th and 21st week of pregnancy. 

Nuchal Translucency

An ultrasound screening test done between the 11th and 14th week of pregnancy.  It measures the thickness of the fluid buildup at the back of the developing fetus' neck.  If the area is thicker than normal, it can be an early indicator of increased risk of Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 and fetal heart problems.


A medical procedure used in prenatal diagnosis of chromosomal abnormalities and fetal infections in which a small amount of amniotic fluid (which surrounds the fetus) is extracted with ultrasound guidance.  The fetal DNA is then sent to a lab where it is examined for chromosomal abnormalities, neural tube defects and genetic disorders.

Biophysical Profile

An assessment of fetal well-being involving four discrete biophysical variables: heart rate, breathing, movement, and muscle tone of the fetus. The presence or abscence of these variables can help determine fetal health and well-being. It is usually performed during the second half of pregnancy, in conjunction with a Non-Stress Test.

What to Expect During an Obstetrical Ultrasound

When your provider orders an ultrasound, you will receive a detailed handout that includes preparation information (for example, arriving with a full bladder) as well as answers to some commonly asked questions, such as:

May I bring my family?
Yes, of course!  Ultrasounds during pregnancy can be a very exciting experience for patients and their family. Many patients look forward to seeing the fetus move. However, just as with any other diagnostic test, it is important to remember that an ultrasound is a diagnostic study that is done to make sure that the fetus is developing properly, and requires the full attention of the sonographer. Please allow approximately 20 minutes at the beginning of the exam for you, one adult guest, and the sonographer only. After the diagnostic portion of the exam has been completed, additional guests will be invited into the room.

If you are bringing children to the appointment, please bring another adult that is capable of caring for them. If children become a distraction during the exam, they and the accompanying adult will be asked to wait in the lobby.

May I take pictures or videos?
Memory take-home pictures are printed for you whenever possible. Taking pictures or videos on your personal devices is strictly prohibited for liability reasons. We do not have DVD capability.

When will I receive my ultrasound results?
As with any test that is performed, your physician will discuss the results with you at your next appointment, or sooner if necessary. The sonographer does not interpret or report results.

Can gender be determined at my ultrasound?
If you desire to know fetal gender, the sonographer will make every attempt to determine this for you. This is not always possible due to several factors, including patient weight, fetal size/ how far along the pregnancy is, and the position the fetus is in at the time of the scan.