Fetal Ultrasounds in the NoVa Region

Ultrasound diagnostic imaging is used in a variety of medical settings, though many individuals are most familiar with this examination because of its consistent use throughout a woman’s pregnancy. This particular type of ultrasound is referred to as a fetal ultrasound.

The Basics About Fetal Ultrasounds

All ultrasounds are produced using sound waves that are delivered to a specified area of the body and then bounce back to a transmitting device that converts the length of the sound waves to create a detailed image of the patient’s internal structures. This type of technology is extremely useful in the diagnosis of many medical conditions, or in this case, to routinely check in on the development of a fetus.

Transabdominal Ultrasound

The standard type of ultrasound used during these routine visits to Radiology Imaging Associates are known as a transabdominal fetal ultrasound. This means that the procedure is performed in the abdominal area.

During your transabdominal fetal ultrasound, a technician will apply a gel to the belly and begin moving a device called a transducer back and forth across the area. Images created by the sound waves bouncing back to the transducer will be visible on a screen in front of you and the technician.

Transvaginal Ultrasound

Often times if a patient is having a fetal ultrasound performed during the early stages of her pregnancy, a transvaginal ultrasound will be used. This type of fetal ultrasound requires a probe to be inserted through the vagina, which helps to create clearer, more detailed images of the baby.

3D and 4D Fetal Ultrasounds

Most fetal ultrasound imaging tests will only produce a static 2D image for patients to view. However, recent technologies have allowed for more defined images to be created that can give a 3D, or even a 4D rendering of the developing fetus.

3D ultrasound images allow our office to assess the height, length, and width of the baby, while also showing them more detailed images of the patient’s reproductive system as well. A 4D ultrasound has these same capabilities, but also has the added benefit of producing a moving video of the fetus.

Other Fetal Examinations

There are a number of other techniques and tests that can evaluate more specific aspects of a growing baby’s health, including the analysis of their blood flow, heart function, facial structure, and more. Such tests are typically only conducted if your technician suspects there may be a problem during your baby’s development, and so they are not implemented for every patient. These additional ultrasound imaging tests include:

  • Doppler ultrasound
  • Fetal echocardiography
  • Specialized sonographic evaluation

The Purpose of a Fetal Ultrasound

Generally, when a woman reaches the 18th week of her pregnancy it will be time to conduct an ultrasound. As mentioned, this diagnostic procedure is used to assess the ongoing growth and development of the fetus. More specifically, fetal ultrasounds are used to:

  • Confirm a pregnancy
  • Determine the number of babies in the womb
  • Monitor amniotic fluid levels
  • Study the condition of the placenta
  • Determine the baby’s gender
  • See where the fetus is located and how it is positioned
  • Investigate potential birth defects
  • Evaluate how quickly the fetus is growing
  • Diagnose possible complications with the pregnancy

Not all of these evaluations will be available during the first few weeks of a woman’s pregnancy. This is why patients are expected to return to Radiology Imaging Associates every few weeks to complete another ultrasound and to address any changes in fetal development.

To schedule your first ultrasound, or to inquire about getting a more detailed ultrasound for any abnormal symptoms you have experienced, please contact one of our offices in the NoVa region today by calling (877) 504-9729.

COVID-19 Update

The Governors of Maryland and Virginia have closed all non-essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Radiology centers have been classified as essential services. 

The health, well-being, and safety of our patients and staff is our top priority. We are committed to helping stop the spread of COVID-19. We have taken steps to continue providing only critical service required to meet the needs of the community.  After very careful consideration we have decided to reschedule all non-urgent imaging appointments as well as consolidate our services by adjusting hours and center openings. To protect everyone, we are closely following the guidance of local, national and global health authorities – including the CDC – in addressing current challenges. As circumstances continue to change, we will keep you informed.

As the situation continues to develop in our community, we want to maintain our ability to provide quality service while safeguarding the health and safety of our patients and staff. We realize these are tenuous times and we are actively monitoring the ongoing situation and following the latest available CDC guidelines. In an effort to limit the risk of exposure for our patients and our employees who may be in high-risk categories, we are asking that you:

Please do not go to a Fairfax Radiology Center/Radiology Imaging Associates location if ANY of the following apply:

    1. You have cough, fever, or shortness of breath
    2. You have traveled by airplane or to New York City in the past 14 days or less
    3. You have had contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who is undergoing a test (results pending) for COVID-19.

Instead, please contact your physician for instructions. Patients may call to reschedule their appointment once they are symptom and fever-free for a minimum of 24 hours without the use of medication.

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