How To Prepare
You may need a full
bladder for the test. If so, you will be
asked to drink water or other liquids just before the test and to avoid
urinating before or during the test. Usually women in the third trimester do not need to have a full bladder.
transvaginal fetal ultrasound, the vaginal transducer is usually covered with a
latex sleeve and a vaginal lubricant, such as K-Y Jelly. If you are allergic to
latex, tell the health professional before having the test.
to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the fetal
ultrasound, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To
help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
Most often, a fetal ultrasound is
performed by an ultrasound technologist. But it may be done by a
obstetrician. Fetal ultrasound can be done in a
doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
See a picture of
how a fetal ultrasound is done .
Often you do not need to remove
your clothes for the ultrasound test. You can lift your shirt and push down the
waistband of your skirt or pants. If you are wearing a dress, you will be given
a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.
- You may need to have a full
bladder. A full bladder helps transmit sound waves and
pushes the intestines out of the way of the uterus. This makes the ultrasound
- You will not be able to urinate until the
test is over. But tell the ultrasound technologist if your bladder is so full
that you are in pain.
- If an ultrasound is done during the later part of
pregnancy, a full bladder may not be needed. The growing fetus will push the
intestines out of the way.
- You will lie on your back on a padded
examination table. If you become short of breath or lightheaded while lying on
your back, your upper body may be raised or you may be turned on your side.
- A gel will be spread on your belly.
- A small, handheld
instrument called a transducer will be pressed against the gel on your skin and
moved across your belly several times. You may watch the monitor to see the
picture of the fetus during the test.
When the test is finished, the gel is cleaned off of your
skin. You can urinate as soon as the test is done. Transabdominal ultrasound
takes about 30 to 60 minutes.
Ultrasound technologists are trained
to gather images of your fetus but cannot tell you whether it looks normal or
not. Your health professional will share this information with you after the
ultrasound images have been reviewed by a radiologist or
- You do not need to have a full
- You will lie on your back with your hips slightly
- A cover (such as a condom) will be placed over the thin
vaginal transducer. The transducer will be inserted gently into your vagina,
and then it will be moved and rotated to adjust the view displayed on the
monitor. Some doctors may allow you to insert the transducer into your vagina
Transvaginal ultrasound takes about 15 to 30