Most people associate ultrasounds with pregnancy, and while they’re often used during pregnancy, women at all stages of life can benefit from an ultrasound.
At the Center for Women’s Health, our experienced team of women’s health experts offers ultrasounds conveniently on-site — so you can have all of your care under one roof.
Below, we take a look at the ways ultrasounds can be used as part of your comprehensive and compassionate care, whether you’re expecting a baby or not.
Expectant mothers usually receive their first ultrasound during the first trimester. This ultrasound helps to date the pregnancy (i.e., to determine the due date), confirm the baby’s heartbeat, and verify the number of babies present.
Most pregnant women have at least two ultrasounds, including the first dating ultrasound and a second one, usually around 18-22 weeks, for the anatomy scan.
Depending on a woman’s health and any pregnancy complications, additional ultrasounds may be needed to:
- Confirm the baby’s position before birth
- Check and monitor amniotic fluid levels
- Check and monitor the placenta (e.g., in the case of placenta previa)
- Evaluate the baby’s growth
- Identify or monitor any birth defects
If needed, special ultrasounds can be performed on specific parts of the baby. For example, a fetal echocardiography — an ultrasound of your baby’s heart — may be recommended to evaluate any potential defects.
Ultrasounds can be performed transabdominally or transvaginally, but regardless of which method is needed, the process is painless and quick.
Ultrasounds and infertility
Even if you’re not pregnant, you might benefit from ultrasounds if you’re trying to conceive. An ultrasound can provide information to diagnose the cause of infertility, facilitate infertility treatments, and track the progress of any treatments.
Ultrasounds can confirm ovulation as well as implantation.
Ultrasound as a diagnostic tool
Ultrasounds use high-frequency sound waves to capture images from the inside of your body. These images can be used to diagnose a variety of diseases or conditions. The team at Center for Women’s Health may recommend an ultrasound to help:
- Diagnose pelvic organ prolapse
- Diagnose ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids
- Assist in diagnosing the cause of pelvic pain (such as fibroids)
- Locate intrauterine devices
In addition to pelvic ultrasounds, breast ultrasounds can also provide valuable information. For example, breast ultrasounds can analyze lumps, including whether a lump is fluid-filled or solid.
Because ultrasounds don’t use radiation, they’re preferred for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers — unlike CT scans or X-rays, which do use radiation.
So, who needs an ultrasound?
The bottom line is that ultrasound imaging can provide valuable information for pregnant women, women undergoing infertility treatments, and women of all ages in need of a diagnosis for their symptoms.
To learn more about ultrasounds or to schedule an appointment, contact one of our offices in Newport News or Hampton, Virginia, today.