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4 Types of Ultrasounds and When You May Need One

4 Types of Ultrasounds and When You May Need One

Ultrasounds are noninvasive imaging tests used to evaluate and diagnose many health conditions, especially in gynecology and obstetrics

At Capital Women’s Care in Silver Spring and Laurel, Maryland, the experienced OB/GYN team provides ultrasounds as part of their obstetrics care and also for some gynecological and fertility evaluations. 

Here’s more about what ultrasound does, four of the most common types, and why you might need one.

What is ultrasound?

Ultrasound uses sound waves to provide images of soft tissue and organs. During an ultrasound, your technician glides a transducer, or wand, over the area to be examined. 

The sound waves from the transducer carry through your skin and come into contact with tissues, fluids, and bones. When the waves bounce back, the transducer turns them into images that a doctor can view on a video screen. 

Research has found ultrasounds to be safe and not cause adverse effects in patients. 

Four common types of ultrasound

As an OB/GYN practice, Capital Women’s Care uses ultrasound in several ways. These include:

1. Pregnancy ultrasounds

Sometimes you’ll hear a pregnancy ultrasound referenced as a sonogram. The ultrasound image shows your developing baby. During the first trimester, or the initial 12 weeks of pregnancy, an ultrasound confirms the pregnancy and monitors the fetal heartbeat.

We may also order an ultrasound during the second trimester, usually around 20 weeks. This ultrasound can determine the fetus’s gender (if you want to know), monitor fetal development and health, and evaluate the level of amniotic fluid. 

During the third trimester, an ultrasound helps us monitor your baby’s development and health. This ultrasound also shows us the baby’s position and can help us know if they’ll be in a breech position for delivery. 

2. Doppler ultrasounds

We may order a Doppler ultrasound to evaluate the blood flow in a woman's reproductive organs. This type of ultrasound can also monitor the blood circulation of the fetus. 

You may undergo a Doppler ultrasound if we detected an abnormality in an earlier sonogram or if you’re pregnant with multiples. 

3. Transvaginal ultrasounds

A transvaginal ultrasound effectively evaluates your cervix and placenta for any abnormalities. It also allows a technician to better view your uterus to look for fibroids or evidence of endometriosis.

During a transvaginal ultrasound, your technician inserts the transducer into your vagina. The transducer is sterilized and covered with a condom to make the procedure as comfortable as possible.

4. 3D and 4D ultrasounds

Our practice offers state-of-the-art 3D and 4D ultrasounds to give you a clear picture of your baby. These advanced ultrasounds also give our doctors images that can reveal problems or abnormalities that aren’t always visible on a traditional ultrasound.

A 3D ultrasound enables you to see features on your baby, and a 4D ultrasound captures movement, such as your baby smiling.

Capital Women’s Care provides comprehensive obstetric and gynecological services, including the latest in ultrasound technology. To benefit from the practice’s compassionate care and advanced technology, call or use this website to request your appointment today.

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