How does an ultrasound work?

an ultrasound

Unexpected pregnancies come with many unknowns. As you decide what’s best for you and your future, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you have all of the information and knowledge you need.

Ultrasounds are an important step in understanding the unique details surrounding your pregnancy and making sure you have a holistic understanding of the options available to you.

As you consider  an ultrasound scan, explore the answers to these commonly asked questions about the process! Once you take a pregnancy test, talk with a Liberty Women’s Clinic nurse about a limited ultrasound at no cost to you.

How does an ultrasound work?

Ultrasounds, also called sonograms, are performed using a device called a transducer. A sonographer  spreads gel on the patient’s skin, and then slides the transducer over it, sending a low-level of ultrasound waves through the body.

As the sound waves travel through the body, they will either bounce back (off of soft tissue) or echo (off of more solid tissue), creating a visual image of the inside of the body.1

Are ultrasounds safe?

Yes. Ultrasounds are completely safe and do not use any radiation, unlike some medical imaging technologies.1

What may an ultrasound reveal about my pregnancy?

Ultrasounds are used in many areas of medicine — from diagnosing a health condition to guiding a doctor during surgery. They are also commonly used to provide women and their doctors with valuable information about the state of a pregnancy.

Whether you’re considering carrying the pregnancy or interested in abortion, an ultrasound scan will provide you with valuable information as you make your choice. 

Here are a few important details an ultrasound scan will reveal about your pregnancy:2

  • Ultrasounds reveal whether or not a pregnancy is viable. A nonviable pregnancy is one that does not have a chance of surviving to term or outside of the womb on its own. Knowing whether your pregnancy is viable plays a significant role in determining your next steps.
  • An ultrasound scan will help your doctor identify any complications or health conditions that might impact your health and safety or the health of your pregnancy. If you’re considering any abortion procedure, it’s especially important to know your potential health risk.
  • Whether you are planning on terminating or carrying your pregnancy, you’ll need to know the gestational age of the fetus. For women who are planning on carrying, knowing the age of your pregnancy will determine your due date and help you know what to expect in the process.

If you’re considering abortion, you’ll need to know the gestational age in order to determine what abortion procedure you’re eligible for.  

When and where can I get an ultrasound scan? 

Maybe you’ve taken a home pregnancy test but want your results verified, or maybe you’re pregnant and need more information about your options. In either case, your next step should be a nurse appointment to discuss your eligibility for an ultrasound. 

Schedule your appointment to talk with one of our nurses today. You and your health are worth it!

*model is stock photo
1. Brazier, Y. (2017) “How do ultrasound scans work?” www.medicalnewstoday.com. Accessed June 29, 2021.
2. Doubilet PM. Ultrasound evaluation of the first trimester. Radiol Clin North Am. 2014 Nov;52(6):1191-9. doi: 10.1016/j.rcl.2014.07.004. Epub 2014 Aug 24. PMID: 25444100.

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