Transvaginal Ultrasound

Medically Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on June 09, 2023
2 min read

Many women get a transvaginal ultrasound in their first trimester. At this stage of your pregnancy, they're more accurate than abdominal ultrasounds. If you have any complications during pregnancy, such as pain or bleeding, you may need one later as well.

Ultrasounds use sound waves to create images of your baby in the womb. With a transvaginal ultrasound, a technician inserts a small probe into your vagina to get a clearer image of your tiny baby.

Transvaginal ultrasounds check your baby's heartbeat and the placenta. They can rule out problems, such as ectopic pregnancies. They also show problems with the cervix -- such as "short cervix" -- that raise your risk of early labor.

You'll lie on a table with your feet in stirrups. It's like a pelvic exam. The technician will insert a small, lubricated probe into your vagina. (If it makes you more comfortable, ask if you can do it yourself.) It shouldn't hurt, but you may feel uncomfortable pressure.

The technician will watch images on a screen and adjust the probe. The whole test will take about 30 to 60 minutes. Transvaginal ultrasounds are safe for you and your baby.

After the ultrasound, your doctor will study the results and talk to you. If there's anything unusual, you may get further tests.

The test is usually done just once, during the first trimester. Your doctor may suggest you get the test more often if there are concerns about your baby's health.

Vaginal ultrasound

Ultrasound, Level II Ultrasound