An ultrasound scan uses high frequency sound waves to create an image of the inside of your body. Because sound waves are used rather than radiation, an ultrasound scan is completely safe. The sound waves bounce off your body as echos and these echos are turned into an image on screen, higher density objects such as bone reflect the biggest echos. Ultrasound scans in pregnancy are routinely used to produce images of the baby in the womb and will not harm you or your baby.
Ultrasound scans are painless, but the gel used within the examination can feel a little cold and you may feel a little discomfort when the ultrasound probe presses on your tummy if you have a very full bladder. An ultrasound scan typically takes between 15 and 25 minutes to complete depending on what is being examined. The examination you require will determine whether a Transabdominal ultrasound scan (external) or Transvaginal ultrasound scan (internal) is needed.
This is an external ultrasound scan that is performed by putting gel onto the lower abdomen and using a handheld ultrasound probe to view the uterus (womb) through the layers of skin tissue. This type of ultrasound scan requires you to have a full bladder, so if you are attending for an early pregnancy scan we recommend that you drink a litre of fluid prior to your appointment.
A pregnancy of more than seven weeks can usually be seen using this scan method but the image quality can vary and it may be necessary to perform a transvaginal (internal) ultrasound scan to get a clearer picture.
This is an internal ultrasound scan that is performed by inserting a small ultrasound probe into the vagina to view the uterus (womb). Because the ultrasound probe can get much closer to the internal pelvis the image quality is usually much clearer and it is easier to see the uterus and ovaries in more detail. It is therefore the scan of choice for fertility investigations or for very early pregnancy when a pregnancy cannot be seen clearly on transabdominal (external) ultrasound scan.
A transvaginal ultrasound scan is performed with an empty bladder. Before the examination starts, we will cover you with a sheet; the probe is covered by a condom and gel is applied to prevent discomfort. Latex free probe covers are available if needed. If you are pregnant a transvaginal ultrasound scan does not do any harm to a developing pregnancy.
There is no evidence that diagnostic ultrasound is unsafe or has produced any harm to patients in the four decades that it has been in use. At Cherish-UK all of our staff are qualified and experienced in ultrasound scanning. However, diagnostic ultrasound can only be considered safe if used prudently.
Developments in real-time three dimensional ultrasonic imaging have led to parents asking for souvenir (keepsake) video recordings of the fetus, sometimes at several stages during the pregnancy. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) and British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS) has recommended for many years that "non-diagnostic" baby scanning should not be performed and that souvenir recordings are only reasonable as part of a diagnostic scan. This is because there have been some instances of diagnostic scans being prolonged in order to provide such recordings. Some services are unable to provide counselling or offer guidance if signs of a fetal abnormality are unexpectedly revealed; at Cherish-UK both partners are fully qualified to offer advice and support as necessary as part of the consultation.
At Cherish-UK 3D / 4D scans and video recordings are available as part of the reassurance scan to help parents bond with their unborn baby. The scan includes a well–being check of fetal heartbeat and movement and if requested confirmation of gender can be performed during the scan. Scanning time is kept to a minimum to ensure there is no unnecessary ultrasound exposure and the As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) principle is always adhered to.
- Ultrasound scans should not be performed solely for producing souvenir images or recordings of a fetus or embryo; however they can be used to enable parents to bond with their baby prior to birth.
- The production of souvenir images or recordings for the parents to keep is reasonable if they are produced during a diagnostic scan, provided that this does not require the ultrasound exposure to be greater in time or magnitude than that necessary to produce the required diagnostic information.
- Attention is drawn to the recommendation of the European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology Clinical Safety Statement for Diagnostic Ultrasound that ultrasound examinations should be performed only by competent personnel who are trained and updated in ultrasound safety matters.
European Committee for Medical Ultrasound Safety October 2006, endorsed by British Medical Ultrasound Society Council: June 2008
Your ultrasound scans are performed by one of our practicing Specialist Nurse Sonographers either Diana Ham or Jacqui Rutter. Both are highly trained and experienced in the use of ultrasound for all pregnancy, fertility and gynaecology needs.
All of our early pregnancy ultrasound scans, fertility ultrasound scans and gynaecology ultrasound scans will include the following:
- Full Consultation
- Transabdominal Ultrasound Scan and/or Transvaginal Ultrasound Scan
- Black and White Ultrasound Scan Image(s)
- Ultrasound Scan Report
- Folder which is suitable for storing maternity records or information
- Display card for ultrasound images (pregnancy scans)
Following your ultrasound scan a report will be written and the results will be emailed to you. Alternatively, if you prefer, you may wait and your ultrasound report will be produced following your scan for you to take with you. All information and ultrasound reports are strictly confidential and will only be forwarded on your request and with your permission.
Cherish-UK work together with several overseas fertility clinics. Ultrasound scans can be performed on any day of your cycle and the results emailed to your chosen clinic.
Cherish-UK is a private pregnancy and fertility scanning clinic, you can self refer and arrange an appointment at your convenience. To book a pregnancy ultrasound scan or fertility ultrasound scan please telephone us on:
07580 611 879, fill out our online enquiry form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.