Mercy Medical Center North Iowa

Obstetric Ultrasound

What is an Obstetric Ultrasound Study?
An obstetric ultrasound is an ultrasound exam of the fetus, placenta, amniotic fluid, uterus, and ovaries. High frequency sound waves are used to obtain images of structures inside the body. Ultrasound imaging can help the radiologist determine the condition of a pregnant woman and her fetus.

Why did the Doctor Order this Exam for Me?
Spotting or bleeding, pelvic pain, or measuring large or small are some of the common reasons to undergo an obstetric ultrasound. Other indications may be to establish the presence of a living fetus, estimate the age of the pregnancy, diagnose congenital abnormalities, evaluate the position of the fetus and/or placenta, determine if there are multiple pregnancies, or to determine the amount of amniotic fluid around the fetus.

What do I need to do to Prepare for the Exam?
A full bladder is needed for this exam. Empty your bladder 45 minutes before your scheduled appointment. Drink 32 ounces of water. Do not empty your bladder again before the exam.

What Should I Expect when I Arrive?
There are currently two areas where ultrasounds are performed. When your exam is scheduled, the doctor's office will specify if you need to check in at Forest Park Imaging or at Mercy Medical Center - North Iowa's East Campus Radiology/Imaging Services desk.

At that time, your personal and insurance information will be updated. You will need to provide your doctor's written order. Once you are registered, you will be asked to sit in the waiting area. A technologist will call your name and take you to the ultrasound room.

Who will be in the Exam Room with Me?

A registered sonographer will perform the exam in Radiology's lab, which is accredited by the American College of Radiography. There also may be a student from the Radiology School assisting the sonographer.

What will I Experience During the Exam?
The sonographr will ask you some questions regarding your medical history and the problems that you are experiencing. The sonographer will explain the exam to you and make sure all your questions are answered. You will be asked to lie down on your back on a cart. Warm lotion and a transducer (a hand-held device that transmits sound waves) will be rubbed along your pelvis and abdomen. The entire exam will take about 60 minutes.

What do I need to do after the Exam?
Following the obstetric ultrasound, you will be able to resume normal activities.

When will I get the Results of the Exam?
You will receive your results from your ordering physician.  You may receive a letter, a phone call, or have a follow up appointment with your physician.  If you are unsure of how you will receive your results, please contact your physician's office.

We are very concerned about any anxiety you may have about your exam. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. If you have questions call 641-428-5122 or 1-800-433-3883, ext. 5122