Quality Compassionate Reproductive Health Care
What is an Ultrasound Exam Used for?
Ultrasound technology allows us to see inside of the pelvic area to view the uterus, ovaries, and pregnancy in real time. Family Planning Associates Medical Group uses this technology
- To determine the size (gestation) of a pregnancy
- Visualize the positioning of an IUD device
- Provide guidance for the physician during an abortion procedure
Who Will Provide the Ultrasound Exam?
Ultrasounds are provided by physicians, technicians and/or clinicians at Family Planning Associates Medical Group. Our physicians use ultrasound for evaluating patients, as guidance during surgery when needed and post-procedure to confirm that the uterus is empty.
Are Ultrasounds Safe?
Numerous studies have been performed to determine the risks of ultrasound use in pregnancy. The studies have determined that there are no known risks and no confirmed biological hazards. Ultrasound imaging has been used for over 20 years with an excellent safety record. It is based on non-ionizing radiation, so it does not have the same risks as X-rays or other types of imaging systems that use ionizing radiation.
What Will I Feel During the Ultrasound Exam?
It is common to feel pressure on the lower part of the abdomen during an abdominal ultrasound. A conducting gel is placed on the abdomen through which sounds waves are transmitted and received. This gel feels a little cold on your skin. A “real time” image is displayed on the monitor screen for the person performing the ultrasound to view.
The vaginal ultrasound consists of placing a specially designed probe into the vaginal canal. Most patients say that a vaginal ultrasound is slightly uncomfortable because of the pressure, but not painful. If there is anything we can do to make you feel more comfortable during this examination, please let our staff know and we will make every effort to accommodate your request.
At FPA most of our ultrasound exams take five minutes or less.
Abdominal ultrasounds are used most often:
- In the second trimester of pregnancy
- When ultrasound is used for guidance during an abortion procedure or IUD insertion
Trans-vaginal ultrasounds are most often used:
- In early pregnancy
- Throughout most of the first trimester of pregnancy
- To check positioning of an IUD device
Trans-vaginal ultrasound probes are sanitized after each use and covered in a disposable barrier before each exam. The vaginal ultrasound usually produces a more distinct picture.
Will I Have a Diagnostic Ultrasound Exam?
We can determine the size (gestation) of a pregnancy, but we do not perform diagnostic ultrasound exams to evaluate the health of a pregnancy in our office. In some cases we will provide you a referral for a diagnostic ultrasound if:
- It is possible that the pregnancy may be located outside of the uterus (an ectopic or ‘tubal’ pregnancy)
- You have had a c-section in the past and the pregnancy or placenta is near the scar from that delivery
- At the discretion of the physician