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Health & Pregnancy

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Fetal Ultrasound

How It Is Done continued...

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 doctor will share this information with you after the ultrasound images have been reviewed by a radiologist or perinatologist.

Transvaginal ultrasound

  • You do not need to have a full bladder.
  • You will lie on your back with your hips slightly raised.
  • 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 yourself.

Transvaginal ultrasound takes about 15 to 30 minutes.

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 linked 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 camera.gif, the organ that nourishes your fetus (placenta), and the liquid that surrounds your fetus (amniotic fluid).

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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