How It Feels
During a transabdominal ultrasound, you
may have a feeling of pressure in your bladder. The gel may feel cool when it
is first applied to your belly. You will feel a light pressure from the
transducer as it passes over your belly.
There is normally no
discomfort involved with a transvaginal ultrasound. You may feel a light
pressure when the transducer is moved in your vagina.
There are no known risks associated with a fetal
ultrasound, either to the mother or fetus. But you may feel anxious if the
ultrasound reveals a problem with your pregnancy or fetus.
"Keepsake video operations" are ultrasound centers that sell ultrasound videos
as your baby's first photo. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
recommends ultrasound scans only to obtain medical information about the fetus.
Keepsake video operations may use the ultrasound machine at higher energy
levels and for longer times than needed to get a "good picture."
A fetal ultrasound scan uses reflected
sound waves to produce a picture of your
fetus, the organ that nourishes your fetus (placenta), and the liquid that surrounds your fetus
You may not receive
information about the test right away. Full results are usually available in 1
or 2 days.
- The fetus is the size expected for its
- The heart rate and breathing activity of the fetus is normal
for its age.
- If the test is done late in the pregnancy, the fetus
is in the head-down position.
- The placenta is the size expected for
the stage of the pregnancy and does not cover the cervix.
uterus contains an adequate amount of amniotic fluid.
- No birth
defects can be seen. (Many minor defects and some major defects are not easily
seen. Also, birth defects do not always show up early in pregnancy.) See
ultrasound images of a normal fetus .
- The fetus is growing more slowly than
normal, is small, or is underdeveloped for its age.
- The fetus is
abnormally large for its age.
- If this test is done late in the
pregnancy, the fetus is in the buttocks-down
(breech) position .
- Birth defects, such as absent kidneys or
anencephaly, are present.
- The placenta
covers the cervix (placenta previa).
uterus contains too much or too little amniotic fluid.
- The fetus
is developing outside of the uterus (ectopic pregnancy).
- The scan shows abnormal tissue instead of a
normal fetus (molar pregnancy).
- The fetal heartbeat is
not present. This can mean fetal death.
Many conditions can change fetal ultrasound results. Your
health professional will discuss any significant abnormal results with you in
relation to your past health.
What Affects the Test
Fetal ultrasound results may be
- Being very overweight or
- Stool (feces) or air in the
intestines or rectum.
- An abnormally low amount of amniotic
- Some fetal positions.
- Not being able to lie
still during the procedure.
- A very active fetus.