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Prenatal ultrasound - series

Procedure, part 1:
Procedure, part 1

As you lie on an exam table, a sonographer coats your belly with a slick -- and possibly cold -- gel. Next, he moves a transducer, a hand-held device shaped like a microphone, over your belly. You can see the resulting images on a nearby computer screen.



Procedure, part 2:
Procedure, part 2

The transducer emits inaudible sound waves, which fan out as they travel through your abdomen. When they hit dense structures like the fetus and the wall of your uterus, the sound waves bounce back to the transducer and are translated into a visual image by the computer.



Procedure, part 3:
Procedure, part 3

Don't get your hopes up too much about this first, fleeting look at your baby. The black-and-white image you see on the computer screen is grainy, shadowy, and may look more like a test pattern than a baby-to-be. Your sonographer will walk you through what you're seeing by pointing out the fetus' developing heart, limbs, and head.




Review Date: 2/21/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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