Doctors rely on ultrasound to monitor the progress of a pregnancy as it uniquely provides high resolution imaging without adverse side effects and is completely free of ionizing radiation. Ultrasound has been used for over 50 years to monitor the progress of pregnancy and no adverse outcomes have been attributed to its use.
At Canberra Specialist Ultrasound we have assembled a highly experienced obstetric imaging team who utilise the very latest real time 2D, 3D and 4D imaging equipment to provide accurate diagnostic information about the progress of your pregnancy. Please note 3D/4D imaging is only done during routine ultrasounds that meet Medicare requirements and within the time constraints of the appointment.
We also understand that your obstetric ultrasound is an exciting social and bonding time as we produce the very first pictures of your baby. Our goal is to combine the highest quality diagnostic reports and imaging of your pregnancy with a family friendly and welcoming environment.
Types of Obstetric scans
Scans are often performed to assess the progress of your early pregnancy, determining the exact gestational age, location and number of pregnancies. They are also commonly performed to assess bleeding, pain or other symptoms.
A scan at this stage establishes the “foundation” of the pregnancy so future management can be planned.
At this early stage of the pregnancy the gestational sac and the baby within it are very small. It is common for a trans-vaginal ultrasound to be performed allowing us to visualise greater detail including your baby’s heartbeat at this early stage.
A trans-vaginal ultrasound does not adversely affect your pregnancy.
This is a unique opportunity in your pregnancy to effectively screen for Down syndrome and a variety of other abnormalities in a non-invasive way. The nuchal translucency is a thin layer of fluid, which collects behind your baby’s neck at this gestational age. It has been established that increased volumes of fluid in this area are linked to an increased likelihood of Down syndrome or other abnormalities. The ultrasound result forms part of a “triple test” which includes risk factors derived from the mother’s age and a maternal blood test. The final risk assessment is generated by purpose built software, which incorporates all 3 variables. At Canberra Specialist Ultrasound we will spend time with you explaining the results of your nuchal translucency screening.
It is the longest and most comprehensive ultrasound you will undertake in your pregnancy. Our state of the art equipment may be used to produce high quality 3D images during 18-20 week morphology scans or late pregnancy growth scans if the position of the baby permits.
The Accredited Medical Sonographer performing your scan will spend time examining your baby in great detail.
At Canberra Specialist Ultrasound our staff specialise in ultrasound imaging and use state of the art equipment. Despite this not all foetal abnormalities may be detected using ultrasound at this time.
Scans are often performed late in the pregnancy to assess your baby’s growth and well being. They are also used to determine the exact position of the placenta and baby prior to delivery.
Late pregnancy scans incorporate assessment of blood flow through the umbilical cord, which produces a sound representing your baby’s heartbeat.
What happens during the scan?
It is important that you communicate any concerns you or your doctor may have to the sonographer so they can tailor the examination to your individual circumstances.
Warm gel is applied to your abdomen and a small hand held probe is used to produce real time images of your pregnancy. Pressure may occasionally be applied with the probe.
Obstetric examinations may vary greatly in time from 15-60 minutes depending on the information being sought and the position of the baby. An Accredited Medical Sonographer conducts the obstetric ultrasound in close collaboration with our medical specialist sonologist who will also produce the final report for your doctor.
Can I find out if its a boy or a girl?
Wanting to know the sex of your baby (or not) is a very personal decision and our experienced sonographers will make every effort to satisfy your wishes.
Ultrasound is only reliable for gender determination after 18 weeks gestation and hence the 18-20 week morphology or late pregnancy growth scans provide opportunities to determine the sex. Gender determination is possible in most cases at these opportunities, however, the baby’s position may occasionally make it impossible.
What about the report?
There will be careful assessment of the images and a final report produced by our Specialist.
Your doctor will receive fast and convenient electronic access to your reports and images.
It is essential that you return to your referring doctor to discuss your report.