An ultrasound exam is used to monitor pregnancy in expecting mothers. An ultrasound is a specialized form of sound waves that bounce through the body and return in echoes. These echoes are transformed into images using a specialized tool called a transducer. These images can be viewed as pictures on a video screen.

Ultrasound Exams and Your Pregnancy

A standard ultrasound exam provides information on:

  • Fetal position
  • Fetal size and weight
  • Location of placenta
  • Number of fetuses
  • Fetal movement, breathing and heart rate
  • Fetus sex

A standard exam also can determine physical development milestones, congenital anomalies and gestational age. A limited ultrasound exam is performed to answer specific questions about your pregnancy, like fetal heart rate or position within the uterus.  

Risks of Ultrasound Exams

There are currently no risks to your pregnancy from ultrasound exams. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have concluded there are no links between ultrasounds and birth defects, development problems or childhood cancer.


However, it is important that ultrasounds be performed by medical professionals only to ensure no risk of injury to you or your baby.

Your First Ultrasound

Throughout your pregnancy, you can expect to have at least one ultrasound, which will determine your baby’s gestational age, heart rate, risk for genetic disorders, or any additional fetuses. This ultrasound is generally performed in the first 18-22 weeks of pregnancy.


However, at Sylacauga OB-GYN, we perform at least two exams during pregnancy. The first exam is to date the pregnancy and is performed transvaginally. Transvaginal ultrasounds provide the clearest pictures and ability to date a pregnancy in the first trimester.


The second ultrasound exam is to determine gender, growth, placenta, fluid and any potential anatomic anomalies.

Ultrasounds: What to Expect

There are generally two forms of ultrasounds: a gynecological ultrasound and obstetric ultrasound.


A gynecological exam is performed almost exclusively transvaginally. A transvaginal ultrasound requires an empty bladder in order to receive the best imagery. An obstetric exam, given during the first trimester, is administered transvaginally. After this exam, all follow-up ultrasounds are administered abdominally.

Sylacauga OB-GYN, Ultrasound Experts

Sylacauga OB-GYN performs ultrasound exams for expecting mothers safely and comfortably. Our practice focuses on delivering only the highest-quality, optimal healthcare for mothers. Let our trained staff walk you through your ultrasound and the many stages and milestones of your life — from childbirth to beyond.

To schedule your appointment with one of our doctors, call today or email us at [email protected].