Ultrasound

Ultrasound delivers high-frequency sound waves and the echoes that bounce of body tissue form images of the inner structure of the body. This non-invasive procedure is one of the most widely used diagnostic procedures in modern medicine.

Most people are familiar with how an ultrasound shows a developing baby in the womb, but ultrasound can also help determine a person's risk of heart attack or problems in the abdomen or reproductive system.

How to prepare for your ultrasound

There are several different ultrasound exams. Here you'll find the most common exams and their necessary preparations. 

Thyroid, extremity joints, testicular, and soft tissue structure ultrasound procedures do not require any special preparation.

Please allow one hour for the entire ultrasound exam process.

Obstetric ultrasound

An obstetrical ultrasound allows you and your physician to see and examine your baby before the baby is born. The physician can more accurately calculate the baby’s age from the measurements taken during the ultrasound. During the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, you must have a full bladder during the exam. The fluid inside the bladder acts as a window through which the sound waves can pass. This allows the fetus and uterus to be clearly seen. After the first 16 weeks, a full bladder is not necessary.

How to prepare:

  • Drink four, eight-ounce glasses of water or fruit juice (not coffee, tea, milk or soda) at least one hour before the exam.
  • Do not empty your bladder until after the exam.

Pelvic ultrasound

A pelvic ultrasound studies the female reproductive organs, such as the uterus and ovaries. This is usually done through the abdomen. To better visualize the area, the technician may need to scan the reproductive organs through the vagina using a probe.

How to prepare:

  • Drink four, eight-ounce glasses of water or fruit juice (not coffee, tea, milk or soda) at least one hour before the exam.
  • Do not empty your bladder until after the exam.

Abdominal ultrasound

An abdominal ultrasound is used to study the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, spleen, urinary tract (kidneys) and abdominal aorta.

How to prepare:

  • Do not eat anything or drink milk, cream, coffee or a carbonated beverage for eight hours before the exam.
  • Medications may be taken with a small amount of water.
  • If you are diabetic, please tell the scheduler so you may be scheduled early in the morning.
  • Your provider may order a combined abdominal/pelvic ultrasound. Follow the preparation instructions for each exam.

Breast ultrasound

A breast ultrasound is often used to examine a suspicious breast lump. The ultrasound will show whether the lump is solid or filled with fluid. This information is important in determining treatment. No special preparation is necessary.

Contact Us

Mill Creek Commons Obstetrics and Gynecology

Providence Centralia Hospital

Providence St. Mary Medical Center

Monroe Obstetrics and Gynecology