At our practice, we routinely perform 2 sonograms during your pregnancy. The first is done at your first visit to confirm your due date and view the baby’s heartbeat. The second ultrasound if done at approximately 20 weeks gestation. This ultrasound will assess baby’s growth, basic anatomy, placenta, and assess your cervix using transvaginal ultrasound.

All patients have the option of having a 3D/4D ultrasound between 24 – 28 weeks. There is a charge for the 3D/4D ultrasound. It is not covered by insurance.

Additional ultrasounds may be necessary during your pregnancy for growth, fluid checks, etc.


In-Office Ultrasound

 Clinic 2D ultrasounds are used during pregnancy for diagnostic purposes.  They work by directing ultrasound waves straight down on the area being examined.  The waves are then reflected back up and recorded, providing a 2 dimensional view of the fetus.  Elements of Care’s state-of-the-art ultrasound services are available during normal business hours.

1st Trimester Ultrasound (6-12 weeks) 

Ultrasounds in the first trimester helps us determine a lot of information about your pregnancy.  First, we make sure your pregnancy is in the uterus and not ectopic or in the fallopian tubes.  We also determine how many babies you have in your uterus. Additionally, we check the size of your baby to make sure its growth correlates to your due date ensuring an accurate final due date.  Finally, we want to check the viability of your pregnancy.  In other words, we want to make sure the baby has a normal heart rate and rhythm.

Nuchal Translucency (12 to 14 weeks GA)

A nuchal translucency ultrasound examination involves measuring the amount of fluid accumulated under the skin at the back of the baby’s neck. This normal accumulation of fluid is known as the nuchal translucency (or NT) measurement and it is often increased when a developing baby has Down syndrome or heart defect. The fetal nasal bone is also examined. Babies that have an abnormally small nasal bone or absent nasal bone also have an increased risk for Down syndrome.

Anatomy Ultrasound (18 to 20 weeks GA)

An ultrasound performed at 18-20 weeks is the most extensive ultrasound done.  This ultrasound is used to determine the baby’s size, weight and to measure growth ensuring the fetus is developing according to plan. We look at your baby from head to its toe. This means we check the baby’s head, face, heart, thorax, abdomen, spine, arms, legs, fingers and toes. Additionally, we check the placenta and maternal cervix.

Depending on the baby’s position we can also determine the sex of the baby. While an ultrasound will detect many abnormalities, it is not a definitive means for finding fetal malformations or abnormalities. Normal results can never guarantee the birth of a normal baby. In fact, two to three percent of newborns have some type of physical or mental defect, many of which are undetectable through any know prenatal testing. You should realize even with a complete ultrasound, certain fetal abnormalities may be discovered either later in the pregnancy or even after birth. Thus, although ultrasounds are a very helpful diagnostic tool, it should not be considered as an absolute proof of the absence of fetal defects.

Third Trimester Ultrasound

During the third trimester women will have an ultrasound to check the health of their baby or their baby’s readiness for birth. It is also a good time to look for the position of the baby, the estimated weight of the baby, the placental location and age, the amount of amniotic fluid left around the baby, and the maternal cervix.

Other test performed during pregnancy

Fetal Non Stress Test NST

This simple, painless procedure is done during pregnancy to evaluate your baby’s condition. During the test, your physician or technician monitors your baby’s heartbeat, first while the baby is resting and then while he or she is moving. A technician straps two devices to you abdomen, one monitors your baby heartbeat and movement, the other records contraction in your uterus. The test is done if you have gone past your due date or in the month leading up to your due date if you have a high-risk pregnancy. Some other reasons for having a non stress test is diabetes, gestational hypertension, the baby appears to be small or not growing properly, the baby is less active and too much or too little amniotic fluid. The test usually takes 20 to 60 minutes.


Rodney Otjen

Rodney J. Otjen,


Rodney is a professionally credentialed OB/GYN sonographer from the ARDMS and is certified in Nuchal Translucency from the NTQRE. Read More