Ultrasound for Pregnancy

Ultrasounds can be an exciting part of pregnancy. They are quick and painless and help you see the development of your baby. Let the team at Banner Health help with any ultrasounds throughout your pregnancy. 

What Is a Pregnancy Ultrasound?

Like any other ultrasound, a pregnancy ultrasound uses sound waves and not radiation. A pregnancy ultrasound can help doctors see if other tests need to be prescribed to assess the baby’s health. 

When Is an Ultrasound for Pregnancy Used?

A pregnancy ultrasound is used to see how your baby is progressing and growing throughout the pregnancy. Some expecting mothers have an ultrasound during their first and second trimester. 

Types of Pregnancy Ultrasounds

While a pregnancy ultrasound is used to check in on the baby’s health, there are several types of ultrasounds, such as:

  • 3D baby ultrasound: This type of ultrasound can produce a 3D image of your baby, showing his or her features and more defined imagery.
  • Transabdominal ultrasound: This is the most common type of ultrasound during a pregnancy. This type of ultrasound is done on the outside of your abdomen with a thin layer of gel to help the transducer slide across the body. This ultrasound produces better images if you have a full bladder so consider drinking water before your appointment.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound: This type of ultrasound is done inside the body through the vagina. This type of ultrasound requires an empty bladder to produce clear images. Although not painful, with a transvaginal ultrasound you may feel pressure.

How to Prepare for an Ultrasound for Pregnancy

Depending on the type of ultrasound you have, your doctor may ask you to drink water before the ultrasound. Consider wearing loose clothing if you’re unsure about which type of ultrasound you will be having.

What to Expect from an Ultrasound for Pregnancy

This type of ultrasound is typically performed by your doctor at a Banner Health hospital or clinic but can also be performed at many Banner Imaging locations.

During the procedure, you will lie on your back and a cold gel will be applied to your lower abdomen. This will help the transducer slide easily across the abdomen when looking for the baby and to see the baby from different angles. Your doctor or technologist will then take pictures, known as sonograms, of your baby.

What Can a Pregnancy Ultrasound Detect?

The main reason for an ultrasound during pregnancy is to see how the baby is progressing and if it is healthy. Additionally, an ultrasound can detect:

  • Gender: A baby’s gender can be detected in an ultrasound during the 18 to 22-week mark in the pregnancy.
  • Ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy): A general ultrasound can identify if your pregnancy is an ectopic pregnancy. This means that the gestational sac is forming in the fallopian tube.

Associated Risks

Ultrasounds have no known associated risks because they use sound waves and not radiation.

Banner Health’s experts are here to help throughout your pregnancy. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about ultrasounds. 

Find an Imaging Location Near You

Whatever your need, your doctor can refer you to one of our conveniently located free-standing imaging centers or one of our hospitals.