Ultrasound is safe and painless. It produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound imaging is also called ultrasound scanning or sonography. It uses a small probe called a transducer and gel placed directly on the skin. High frequency sound waves travel from the probe through the gel into the body. The probe collects the sounds that bounce back. A computer uses those sound waves to create an image. Ultrasound exams do not use radiation (as used in x-rays). Because images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs. They can also show blood flowing through blood vessels.
Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.
Obstetrical ultrasound provides pictures of an embryo or fetus within a woman's uterus, as well as the mother's uterus and ovaries.
During an obstetrical ultrasound the examiner may evaluate blood flow in the umbilical cord or may, in some cases, assess blood flow in the fetus or placenta.