If you are pregnant and would like to see your baby, ultrasound is the way. We offer free first or second trimester obstetric ultrasounds confirming intrauterine pregnancy with fetal heart rate and pregnancy dating at our centers near Saint Helens. Free ultrasound appointments are made in-center only, and can be scheduled at your first appointment. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to receive free pregnancy testing or pregnancy counseling or just talk with someone about what you’re going through, please get in touch with the staff at one of our centers near Saint Helens, Oregon.
Your free ultrasound procedure will go something like this:
All of our ultrasounds are performed by registered nurses that have been trained to provide limited obstetric ultrasounds. Each ultrasound is reviewed by a Medical Doctor who will diagnose the pregnancy and ensure that we are providing the highest standards of care.
An ultrasound is a helpful tool for ruling out miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, and diagnosing a viable intrauterine pregnancy. In addition, getting to “see” your baby for the first time is often a significant milestone in the course of a modern pregnancy, and we love being able to help make that moment happen. A free ultrasound can tell you things like:
For many women, a pregnancy ultrasound is a very significant event. We encourage you to have appropriate support with you during this time (space permitting). If you come in on your own for whatever reason, our trained and experienced staff will be with you to provide company, helpful information, and a listening ear during your time in our center.
All ultrasound technology operates on the principle that sound waves reflect differently off different surfaces, especially when they begin to travel through a new medium. For an illustration, imagine yelling at someone who is under water – some of the sound waves from your voice reflect back at you (an echo), and some go beyond the surface of the water and into the water to be heard by the person underneath. By measuring the amount of time it takes for your voice to “echo” back at you and knowing a few variables about how sound moves in different mediums, you can measure the distance the sound travelled. With this information, you (or a computer) can construct an image. Think of it as advanced echolocation, which is what bats and some other animals use to “see” in the dark.
One key thing to know about ultrasound is that it uses frequencies of sound waves which are outside the range of normal human hearing, so neither you nor your baby will need earplugs!
Here are some common questions we receive related to ultrasound testing. If you have other questions and would like to talk with one of our PRC staff, contact one of our centers near Saint Helens today.
Ultrasound involves no exposure to radiation, as is the case with many other forms of body scanning. The only side-effects for the mother may be some discomfort as the transducer is moved over your body to capture an image from different angles.
The consensus in the medical community is that ultrasound is entirely safe for prenatal babies when administered properly using the lowest possible amount of ultrasound energy to successfully resolve an image.
It should be noted that ultrasound images are subject to the interpretation of a physician. While they are clear in most cases and there have been amazing advancements in the technology in recent years, there are limitations to what an ultrasound can reveal. For one thing, it is possible for an ultrasound to suggest the presence of birth defects when in fact there are none.
Preliminary results are usually available immediately. To ensure that we meet the highest standards of care, each of our ultrasounds is reviewed by a medical doctor in order to diagnose a viable intrauterine pregnancy. If there are any modifications necessary to the preliminary results, you will be notified.
An ultrasound is not usually painful. There may be some discomfort for the mother during a pregnancy ultrasound as the transducer is moved into position to obtain the desired images. For the baby, there is no pain or discomfort involved in an ultrasound procedure.
The procedure for a transabdominal ultrasound involves using a transducer along with a sound-conducting gel on your abdomen. The transducer is moved around until a suitable image can be obtained. This is probably what most expectant mothers will imagine when they think of an ultrasound.
A transvaginal ultrasound is more commonly performed during early pregnancy or in the event that a transabdominal ultrasound cannot deliver enough information. This involves placing a tampon-like transducer in the vagina to produce sound waves and gather their reflections.
If your pregnancy is healthy, you can expect to get two ultrasound tests. One will be scheduled (ideally) in the first trimester to confirm (along with other signs) the due date based on your baby’s growth and stage of development. Another is usually scheduled 18-21 weeks into the pregnancy to verify normal growth and the sex of your baby. While extremely common, prenatal ultrasounds are medical procedures and should only be completed for valid medical reasons.
As early as the 14th week, though sometime around 18-21 weeks is perhaps a better bet. Being able to determine gender is not a guaranteed thing – it depends on the baby’s position and whether they are willing to stay still enough to be clearly imaged.
An ultrasound is a medical procedure, and in order to perform it we need to confirm a pregnancy in-center. As with any medical procedure, there are eligibility criteria that have to be met, and those are discussed in our centers. We are not able to schedule an ultrasound appointment before eligibility has been determined. Sometimes that is the same day (we will do our best), but we cannot guarantee it.