Pregnancy Ultrasound

Pregnancy Ultrasound

Pregnancy (Obstetric) ultrasound examinations are carried out by a trained sonographer using an ultrasound machine.

Sophisticated computer software and high frequency sound waves are used to gain an image by bouncing the waves into your body and back to the transducer held by the sonographer.

Is it safe?

Diagnostic ultrasound has been used for over 30 years. Current scientific thinking indicates that there is no discernible detrimental effect on pregnant women or their babies. The potential benefits gained far out-weigh any possible risk.

How much does it cost ?

The Ministry of Health provides some funding for pregnancy ultrasound scans for those women meeting the criteria. This funding does not cover the full cost of providing the ultrasound. First trimester (0-13 weeks) scans are fully funded with the exception being a Nuchal Translucency scan (Nuchal), which does incur a co-payment of $45.00. A co-payment of $45.00 is applied to no more than three scans, per pregnancy.

Why have a pregnancy ultrasound?

The most common reason to have ultrasound in early pregnancy is to ascertain the gestation (age) of the baby and to confirm its well-being (viability). In mid pregnancy ultrasound is used to visualize basic anatomical features of the baby. In late pregnancy the most common reason to have an ultrasound scan is to check foetal (baby) growth and well-being, or to check the position of the baby and the placenta prior to delivery.

The scan can take anything from 10 -30 minutes and involves lying on a couch. The transducer is gently rubbed over your skin. Warm gel is used as a coupling agent and allows the smooth transmission of the sound waves into and out of your body.

What to expect during your scan

In early pregnancy the baby is naturally very small and more difficult to visualize. The sonographer will point out to you as many features as they are able to as they scan you and your baby. If at any point your full bladder is VERY uncomfortable don’t hesitate to tell the sonographer as it may be appropriate for you to relieve some of the pressure in your bladder without compromising the success of the scan.

Do I receive a copy of the images?

Yes, upon arrival we will ask that you complete a short form to confirm if you would like to receive the images via a link in a text message or via a link in an email. At the end of the examination the sonographer will select a variety of images and/or video clips that have been taken during the examination and send those to your chosen destination.  You will receive the images in a matter of minutes.

Early Pregnancy (6-14 weeks)

The most common reason to have ultrasound in early pregnancy is to ascertain the gestation (age) of the baby and to confirm its well-being (viability).

Preparation: Empty your bladder 90 minutes before your scan appointment time. Over the next 30-45 minutes you need to drink 1 litre of water (approx 6-8 glasses). Do not empty your bladder until after the examination. Your full bladder acts as a ‘window’ to the baby with the sound waves able to pass through the fluid filled bladder and provide clearer images.

What to expect during your scan: In early pregnancy the baby is naturally very small and more difficult to visualise. The sonographer will point out to you as many features as they are able to as they scan you and your baby. If at any point your full bladder is VERY uncomfortable do not hesitate to tell the sonographer, as it may be appropriate for you to relieve some of the pressure in your bladder without compromising the success of the scan.

Following your scan: After the examination you will be able to empty your bladder. At the end of the scan the images are saved and then viewed by a Radiologist. Images from your examination will be provided to you.  You will have the option of receiving the images via a link in a text message or via a link in an email. A report will be sent to the clinician that referred you for your scan. This normally occurs within 24 hours but it is often sooner, dependent upon how the referrer prefers to receive their reports.

However if your scan was done urgently a radiologist can make contact directly with the person that referred you to pass on a preliminary report of the findings.

Nuchal Translucency Scan (12-14 weeks)

A Nuchal Translucency (NT) scan is a screening test that helps to detect which babies are at a higher risk of having Down Syndrome.

The NT scan is not 100% accurate and used alone has an 80% accuracy rate. A blood test is also available which increases the accuracy. You can talk to your midwife about this.

The test needs to be completed between 12-14 weeks gestation.

What to expect during your scan: In early pregnancy the baby is naturally very small and more difficult to visualize. The sonographer will point out to you as many features as they are able to as they scan you and your baby. If at any point your full bladder is VERY uncomfortable don’t hesitate to tell the sonographer as it may be appropriate for you to relieve some of the pressure in your bladder without compromising the success of the scan.

During your scan: A limited scan of the fetus will be done to confirm the gestation. A measurement of the Nuchal Translucency behind the baby’s neck is taken and recorded. The results of the scan will be given to your midwife. She will discuss these results with you once you have had the blood test so both sets of results are collated to give you an overall result.

For more information about this screening test please visit the National Screening Unit website.

Mid to Late Pregnancy (15 weeks onwards)

In mid pregnancy ultrasound is used to visualise basic anatomical features of the baby. In late pregnancy the most common reason to have an ultrasound scan is to check foetal (baby) growth and well-being, or to check the position of the baby and the placenta prior to delivery.

Preparation for mid and late pregnancy scan: (15 weeks onward): No special preparation is required for the scan. You are welcome to bring a support person with you to share in the experience but the ultrasound room will only accommodate a small number of people.

Following your scan: At the end of the scan the images are saved and then viewed by a Radiologist. Images from your examination will be provided to you.  You will have the option of receiving the images via a link in a text message or via a link in an email. A report will be sent to the clinician that referred you for your scan. This normally occurs within 24 hours but it is often sooner, dependent upon how the referrer prefers to receive their reports.

However if your scan was done urgently a radiologist can make contact directly with the person that referred you to pass on a preliminary report of the findings.

Contact Us

0800 467 4260

Call us to book an appointment or use the button to the right to request an appointment online.

Locations

Tauranga
  • 07 578 0273
  • Suite 4, Promed House, cnr Edgecumbe Road and 10th Avenue, Tauranga
  • Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Grace Hospital Campus
  • 07 578 0273
  • 281 Cheyne Road, Oropi, Tauranga
  • Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 5:00pm
Mount Maunganui
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  • 8 Grenada Street, Mount Maunganui
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Papamoa
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  • 2/22 Gravatt Road, Papamoa
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Whakatane
  • 0800 722 628
  • 07 308 9913
  • Concordia House, 17-19 Pyne Street, Whakatane
  • Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 5:00pm