Ultrasound

Ultrasound Services

Prenatal ultrasound examinations are a safe, non-invasive way to evaluate a pregnancy. High-frequency, low power ultrasound uses sound waves that bounce off of structures within fluid-filled spaces. At Austin Perinatal Associates, we use the highest quality ultrasound technology and over twenty years of experience to evaluate your pregnancy. It is our primary pathway to evaluate the health and well-being of your unborn baby. We follow the guidelines of, and are certified by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM).

  1. Viability
    Early in your pregnancy, ultrasound is used to evaluate the presence and gestational age of a pregnancy. At Austin Perinatal Associates, we look for a fetal heartbeat as early as 5 – 6 weeks of pregnancy. We also fully inspect the female pelvis including all of the female genital organs (ovaries, tubes and uterus). Your due date can be easily established +/- 7 days during the first trimester. We can also assess bleeding complications and look for multiples and for ectopic pregnancies. Trans-vaginal ultrasound is frequently used for improved image quality and to see the contents of a uterus that may be tilted backwards (retroverted uterus).
  2. Nuchal Translucency/First Trimester Anatomy Scan
    At 11 – 14 weeks, a growing fetus can be easily evaluated for major structural birth defects. A baby is fully formed by 11 – 12 weeks and, although some structures are too small to see this early, the majority of the baby’s organs are readily apparent. Additionally, the lymphatic fluid collection between the muscle and the skin of the neck can be assessed. If there is too much fluid behind a baby’s neck, the risks for certain chromosomal abnormalities (like Down Syndrome) and heart defects increase and, frequently, further testing is recommended.
  3. Comprehensive Anatomy
    A comprehensive anatomy ultrasound examination is a procedure that looks at almost 100 different structures of a baby’s body. At Austin Perinatal Associated, a full and complete anatomic survey of the entire baby is recommended for every patient, regardless of age or risk factors. Although most of these ultrasound exams are recommended between 18 – 20 weeks, often this type of ultrasound can be done as early as 15 weeks. If some structures are not seen at this exam due to fetal position or difficulty imaging, you may be asked to return 2 – 4 weeks later for a follow-up examination.
  4. Fetal Echocardiography
    Patients who have a family history of congenital heart disease (heart defect at birth) or risk factors for having a baby with a heart defect (IVF or multiple gestation) should be evaluated by a formal fetal echocardiogram. A fetal echo involves more precise gray-scale, color Doppler and pulse-wave Doppler studies of all aspects of your baby’s heart. We evaluate both the structure and function of the fetal heart looking for irregular beats, unusual or malformed valves and chambers of the heart. Should a problem be identified, Austin Perinatal works in conjunction with Pediatric Cardiology specialists so your baby can have the best care immediately at delivery.
  5. Biophysical Profile/Non-Stress Test
    A fetal biophysical profile (BPP) is an ultrasound assessment of fetal well being, usually performed in high-risk women and usually in the third trimester (after 28 weeks). The ultrasound component involves the assessment of arm and leg movement (tone), body movements, fetal practice breathing movements and amniotic fluid volumes. Routinely, ultrasound alone can produce good results in 5 – 30 minutes, depending on the baby’s sleep cycle. Occasionally a non-stress test (NST) will need to be done in conjunction with a BPP. An NST is simply looking at the baby’s heartbeat on a labor and delivery monitor for 20 – 30 minutes. If a baby has a “reactive NST” and a “normal BPP” all is well. This test may be recommended once or twice weekly for the “at risk” patient.
  6. Fetal Echocardiography
    Patients who have a family history of congenital heart disease (heart defect at birth) or risk factors for having a baby with a heart defect (IVF or multiple gestation) should be evaluated by a formal fetal echocardiogram. A fetal echo involves more precise gray-scale, color Doppler and pulse-wave Doppler studies of all aspects of your baby’s heart. We evaluate both the structure and function of the fetal heart looking for irregular beats, unusual or malformed valves and chambers of the heart. Should a problem be identified, Austin Perinatal works in conjunction with Pediatric Cardiology specialists so your baby can have the best care immediately at delivery.
  7. 3D/4D Ultrasound
    Although many patients love to see their baby in 3D, there are very few medical indications (necessity) for 3D and 4D evaluation. Major birth defects, cleft lip and conjoined (Siamese) twins are a few of these reasons. However, as part of our evaluation, especially in the third trimester, Austin Perinatal will frequently look at your baby using our state-of-the-art technology. Should we be able to perform 3D/4D ultrasounds, neither you nor your insurance will be charged without a medical indication.