Dr Sarthak Sidapara

OB-GYN Ultrasound

What is an OB-GYN Ultrasound?

OB-GYN Ultrasound is a method of imaging the internal parts of women by using high-frequency sound waves. This helps to look into the women’s inner parts like the uterus, bladder, cervix, fallopian tube, and ovaries.OB-GYN ultrasound is done for two purposes: at the time of pregnancy, it monitors the baby’s health, and at the time of reproductive disorder. This disorder can be abnormal uterus bleeding, ovarian cysts, or uterine fibroids. The internal parts are seen on a computer screen for the doctors to analyze the situation. There is no pain involved in the process.

What is ultrasound test?

It is a medical test performed by the doctor to view the internal parts of your body to analyze or find the cause of the disorder. Here high-frequency sound waves are used to show a live image of the body organs on a monitor. An ultrasound test is also called sonography.

This process is also safe for monitoring the fetus as it uses no radiation for capturing the image. It helps to view organs like the bladder, kidneys, eyes, brain, ovaries, gallbladder, liver, etc.

You may need an Ultrasound at different phases of pregnancy:

  • Firstly, they are used to confirm whether the mother has conceived or not.
  • Secondly, it helps to learn lots of information about the baby like sex, position, and size. Furthermore, if he/she is healthy or suffering from any defect, it is also used to determine whether there is a possibility of twins or triplets and the due date.
  • Thirdly, it is essential to know whether the baby’s position is correct; is he/she is facing upside-down.

How to perform an OB-GYN ultrasound

The doctor may ask you to lie down on the table upside-down. However, the radiologist or sonographer may ask you to turn sideways to get a clearer image of the internal organ. Then the radiologist will apply some liquidy gel on your skin where you are performing the test. This gel removes all the air bubbles or gaps that may come between the transducer and the skin.

The doctor rubs the transducer in your skin in a circular motion over the area you need to examine. The process continues until the internal image appears on the monitor. The transducer’s movement on the skin does not create any pain; however, if it is a sensitive area, you may feel discomfort.

What happens?
-On the day of the test: On the particular day, you will have to drink a lot of water just before the test; it can be up to 3 liters of water. It is advisable not to eat anything before the abdominal scan. Usually, people come wearing loose clothes to avoid any difficulty in the test. Some centers also provide their gown that you will have to wear during the process.

-During the test: During the process, you will have to lie down on the table, and the doctor will rub some gel on the abdominal area. He will use a transducer to perform the test, and you will see the image of the internal organs on the monitor. It will create the images as the doctor will rub the transducer in your skin. The exam is usually over in just 10 minutes.

You can use Ultrasound to perform the following procedures:

Finding if there is any fetus
Evaluating the location of the placenta and the fetus.
Calculating the age of conceiving a child.
Determining the possibility of multiple births.
Measuring the quantity of amniotic fluid present surrounding the baby.
Evaluating the shortening or opening of the cervix.
Diagnosing any fetal abnormalities.

How should you prepare?

Drink a lot of water before the process. Always wear loose-fitting cloth when coming for ultra-sonography. Also, wear a two-piece material as you will have to expose the abdominal area during the procedure. The sonographer or the radiologist may recommend performing transvaginal Ultrasound to establish early pregnancy. In this type of Ultrasound, you get to access a closer and more detailed view of the cervix and pregnancy.

What you can expect

  • During the procedure: The ultrasound test usually does not take much time and is painless. However, sometimes the radiologist has to press the transducer against the area to get a clearer image or recording, but this will not be painful either though it can be discomforting.

The Doppler device helps in the exam. You will be able to hear the blood flow of the fetus. And if you are carrying out transvaginal Ultrasound, then there might be a little pain as the doctor will insert the transducer in your vagina. But don’t worry as the transducer inserted is smaller than the usual one.

  • After the procedure: When the exam is over, you can dress up, and you will have to sit in the waiting room for a while. After some time, you will get ultrasound images and the result of your test. When the test, you can perform your regular activity as usual.

What are the benefits vs risks?

The benefits of the test are as follows:

  • You do not feel any pain in the process as they do not use any needle or injection.
  • Ultrasound is a straightforward process and less costly than most of the imagining method.
  • The process is safe for the fetus as it does not involve any radiation.
  • It provides a clearer picture of the internal area, which you do not get in x-rays.
  • It helps the doctor to see inside the womb and even establish early pregnancy.

The process has no risk involved. It does not harm humans in any way.

What are the limitations of obstetrical ultrasound imaging?

The limitation of Obsetreical Ultrasound Imaging is that it cannot identify abnormalities in the fetus. So if there is any possibility of fetal anomaly, you will have to opt for a non-radiology test like amniocentesis or blood test, or chorionic villus sampling to evaluate any disorder. You may also have to visit a perinatologist who is a specialist in a high-risk pregnancy.

Side effects from ultrasound

There are no risks or side-effect of the process so far. Unlike CT scans, they do not involve radiation, which can cause damage or harm to the fetus.

Even if you perform the exam for your internal organs, they remain unaffected, and the process is entirely painless. There may be a feeling of discomfort in certain areas but no actual pain.

However, if you are allergic to latex, you must tell your radiologist immediately so that they can use a latex-free probe cover. If you do not do so, you may undergo some side-effects like bloating or sore throat.

What happens after the pelvic ultrasound?

After your pelvic Ultrasound, you can go back to your everyday life. You do not have to change your routine or daily schedule afterward. You can eat and drink as before. If the doctors feel that some practice has to be changed, then do as recommended.

OB/GYN ultrasound cost

The ultrasound process is a straightforward and less expensive method. The cost of undergoing an ultrasound test can range from $200 to $500. However, it mainly depends on the place you are getting the test and why you are getting tested. You can also get insurance to cover the process.