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Obstetrical Ultrasounds

Pregnant? Here you will find all the information you need to know regarding obstetrical ultrasounds, which help doctors or midwives track each step of a pregnancy.

Some women will only get one ultrasound during their pregnancy while others will have several. Ultrasound imaging is a safe way to produce detailed images of the body’s internal organs. In the case of a pregnant woman, it allows the confirmation of her condition and the detection of her embryo or fetus by using high frequency sound waves. Reflected sound waves are recorded and displayed as a real-time visual image. Contrary to X-rays, ultrasounds use non-ionizing radiation (for more details on ultrasounds, click here).

The patient’s doctor or midwife requests the obstetrical ultrasound. Reasons are numerous and vary depending on the gestational age.

1st Trimester2nd Trimester3rd TrimesterNuchal Translucency3D/4D Ultrasound

1st Trimester

obstetrique img-premier trimestreSuprapubic and endovaginal

The first trimester starts when your baby is conceived and runs through week 15.

Reasons for the ultrasound:

  • Estimate the gestational age;
  • Establish the presence of a living fetus or a living embryo;
  • Look for multiple pregnancies;
  • Rule out or detect an abnormal pregnancy (ectopic, extrauterine, molar, anembryonic, etc…)

How is the procedure performed?

The sonographer will ask you to lie on your back on an examination table and to remove any clothing from your abdominal area. He or she will then protect your clothes with a cloth and will apply a warm gel to your abdomen before pressing the transducer against your skin. This probe produces sound waves which are used to view the body’s internal organs. In some cases, an endovaginal ultrasound has to be done, wherein a special kind of ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina. This technique reveals more detailed images of the fetus, uterus and ovaries. You will first need to empty your bladder, remove your clothing from the waist down and assume a position similar to the one used for a pelvic exam.

Ultrasound images are displayed in real-time on a monitor that the sonographer watches while moving the transducer. You can also see the images.

What will I experience?

Ultrasound examinations are painless. You could experience some discomfort from pressure as the transducer is pressed against certain areas to capture images, especially when the bladder is full. Any discomfort is minimal and temporary. The sonographer ensures that the patient is as comfortable as possible.

Preparing for the first trimester ultrasound:

Your bladder should be full, enough to experience discomfort. You must finish drinking 1 litre of water one hour before your appointment time. Do not urinate until after your exam is completed.

Please note that a completed requisition form from your doctor or midwife is required at the time of your appointment. Otherwise, we cannot proceed.

Duration : 30 minutes

  • Option 1 : Ultrasound session recorded on DVD
  • Option 2 : Your baby’s heartbeat in a teddy bear
  • Option 3 : Ultrasound session recorded on DVD + your baby’s heartbeat in a teddy bear

Visit our section to learn more about First Trimester Pregnancy Ultrasound to find more information.

IMPORTANT: Note that multiple pregnancy ultrasound will be charged accordingly , since we have to do a full scan for each fetus. You will need to allow time for each fetuses .

2nd Trimester

obstetrique img-2 trimestre Suprapubic and endovaginal (if necessary)

The second trimester starts at week 15 and runs through week 25.

Reasons for the ultrasound:

  • Assess the fetal morphology: usually done between 18 and 20 weeks gestation. The sonographer evaluates each part of the fetus, placenta and uterus according to the standards established by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC). It is also during this ultrasound that parents can find out the sex of their baby, if they want;
  • Establish the presence of a living fetus;
  • Estimate the gestational age;
  • Detect abnormalities or track their progress;
  • Look for multiple pregnancies.

How is the procedure performed?

The sonographer will ask you to lie on your back on an examination table and to remove any clothing from your abdominal area. He or she will then protect your clothes with a cloth and will apply a warm gel to your abdomen before pressing the transducer against your skin. This probe produces sound waves which are used to view the body’s internal organs. In some cases, an endovaginal ultrasound has to be done, wherein a special kind of ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina. This technique reveals more detailed images of the fetus, uterus and ovaries. You will first need to empty your bladder, remove your clothing from the waist down and assume a position similar to the one used for a pelvic exam.

Ultrasound images are displayed in real-time on a monitor that the sonographer watches while moving the transducer. You can also see the images.

What will I experience?

Ultrasound examinations are painless. You could experience some discomfort from pressure as the transducer is pressed against certain areas to capture images, especially when the bladder is full. Any discomfort is minimal and temporary. The sonographer ensures that the patient is as comfortable as possible.

Preparing for the second trimester ultrasound :

Your bladder should be full, enough to experience discomfort. You must finish drinking 1 litre of water one hour before your appointment time. Do not urinate until after your exam is completed.

Please note that a completed requisition form from your doctor or midwife is required at the time of your appointment. Otherwise, we cannot proceed.

Duration : 40 minutes

  • Option 1 : Ultrasound session recorded on DVD
  • Option 2 : Your baby’s heartbeat in a teddy bear
  • Option 3 : Ultrasound session recorded on DVD + your baby’s heartbeat in a teddy bear

Visit our section to learn more about Second Trimester Pregnancy Ultrasound to find more information.

IMPORTANT: Note that multiple pregnancy ultrasound will be charged accordingly , since we have to do a full scan for each fetus. You will need to allow time for each fetuses .

3rd Trimester

obstetrique img-3 trimestre Suprapubic and endovaginal (if necessary)

The third trimester begins at 26 weeks and ends with delivery (around 40 weeks).

Reasons for the ultrasound:

  • Establish the presence of a living fetus;
  • Determine the fetal biophysical profile;
  • Assess fetal growth;
  • Determine fetal orientation;
  • Detect abnormalities or track their progress;
  • Evaluate the position of the placenta;
  • Measure the quantity of amniotic fluid.

How is the procedure performed?

The sonographer will ask you to lie on your back on an examination table and to remove any clothing from your abdominal area. He or she will then protect your clothes with a cloth and will apply a warm gel to your abdomen before pressing the transducer against your skin. This probe produces sound waves which are used to view the body’s internal organs. In some cases, an endovaginal ultrasound has to be done, wherein a special kind of ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina. This technique reveals more detailed images. You will first need to empty your bladder, remove your clothing from the waist down and assume a position similar to the one used for a pelvic exam.

Ultrasound images are displayed in real-time on a monitor that the sonographer watches while moving the transducer. You can also see the images.

What will I experience? 

Ultrasound examinations are painless. You could experience some discomfort from pressure as the transducer is pressed against certain areas to capture images, especially when the bladder is full. Any discomfort is minimal and temporary. The sonographer ensures that the patient is as comfortable as possible.

Preparing for the third trimester ultrasound : No preparation is required.

Please note that a completed requisition form from your doctor or midwife is required at the time of your appointment. Otherwise, we cannot proceed.

Duration : 30 minutes (2D), 40 Minutes (3D/4D)

Between 28 and 32 weeks of pregnancy, it is possible to do the third trimester ultrasound in 3D/4D!

  • Option 1 : Ultrasound session recorded on DVD
  • Option 2 : Your baby’s heartbeat in a teddy bear
  • Option 3 : Ultrasound session recorded on DVD + your baby’s heartbeat in a teddy bea

Visit our section to learn more about Thrid Trimester Pregnancy Ultrasound to find more information.

IMPORTANT: Note that multiple pregnancy ultrasound will be charged accordingly , since we have to do a full scan for each fetus. You will need to allow time for each fetuses .

Nuchal Translucency for prenatal screenings

obstetrique img-clarte nucaleSuprapubic and endovaginal (if necessary)

The nuchal translucency ultrasound must be performed between 11 weeks + 4 days and 13 weeks + 6 days of pregnancy

Reason for the ultrasound:

Measure the nuchal translucency.

What is it?

Nuchal translucency ultrasound is usually a part of prenatal screenings, which gives an estimate of a pregnant women’s risk to have a baby with trisomy 18, trisomy 21 and kidney, cardiac or neural tube defects. During this ultrasound, the sonographer measures the thickness of a layer of liquid located at the back of the baby’s neck, between the skin and the vertebral column. This liquid is present only when the baby is between 11 weeks + 4 days and 13 weeks + 6 days old, which is why the nuchal translucency ultrasound cannot be done before or after this time.

The thickness of this collection of liquid, called nuchal translucency, is critical for IPS, which is performed in three stages, i.e. the nuchal translucency ultrasound and two blood samples taken at different times.

How is the procedure performed?

The sonographer will ask you to lie on your back on an examination table and to remove any clothing from your abdominal area. He or she will then protect your clothes with a cloth and will apply a warm gel to your abdomen before pressing the transducer against your skin. This probe produces sound waves which are used to view the body’s internal organs. In some cases, an endovaginal ultrasound has to be done, wherein a special kind of ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina. This technique reveals more detailed images of the fetus, uterus and ovaries. You will first need to empty your bladder, remove your clothing from the waist down and assume a position similar to the one used for a pelvic exam.

Ultrasound images are displayed in real-time on a monitor that the sonographer watches while moving the transducer. You can also see the images.

What will I experience?

Ultrasound examinations are painless. You could experience some discomfort from pressure as the transducer is pressed against certain areas to capture images, especially when the bladder is full. Any discomfort is minimal and temporary. The sonographer ensures that the patient is as comfortable as possible.

Preparing for the prenatal screening ultrasound:

Your bladder should be full, enough to experience discomfort. You must finish drinking 1 litre of water one hour before your appointment time. Do not urinate until after your exam is completed.

Please note that a completed requisition form from your doctor or midwife is required at the time of your appointment. Otherwise, we cannot proceed.

Duration : 30 minutes

  • Option 1 : Ultrasound session recorded on DVD
  • Option 2 : Your baby’s heartbeat in a teddy bear
  • Option 3 : Ultrasound session recorded on DVD + your baby’s heartbeat in a teddy bear

IMPORTANT: Note that multiple pregnancy ultrasounds will be charged accordingly, since we have to do a full scan for each fetus. You will need to allow time for each fetus. Women whos physician or midwife is in Quebec, prenatal screening for trisomy 21 is not available is the case of a multiple pregnancy. We may still measure the nuchal translucency of each fetus, but blood sampling will be useless.

About Blood sample collection : You may eat and drink before this test.

If your physician or midwife is in Quebec:

Your physician or midwife will provide a form called ‘’Dépistage prénatal de la trisomie 21’’ after filling it up and signing it with you. This form comes from the ‘’Ministère de la santé et services sociaux du Québec’’, it is form # AH-611. When it comes to the Quebec prenatal screening program, the nuchal translucency ultrasound is not mandatory and the first blood collection may take place as soon as the 10th week of pregnancy. However, if you choose to go with the nuchal translucency, which can only occur between 11 weeks + 4 days and 13 weeks + 6 days of pregnancy, we highly recommend that you go for the first blood sampling after your ultrasound. It can be either on the same day or a few days later (the second blood sample should be collected between 14 weeks and 16 weeks + 6 days and at least 8 days after the first sample). It is imperative to bring the AH-611 form with you on the day of your appointment since the ultrasound technologist needs to fill in and sign a section of the form before the blood collection. We will also be able to tell you exactly when you should go for your blood samples collection. If there is more than one embryo, we can still measure the Nuchal Translucency of each embryo, but the complete Trisomy 21 screening with blood analysis is not available in Québec.

The Clinique d’échographie de l’Outaouais does not offer a blood sample collection service. There is a collection center located across the street from our clinic called Sentinelle Santé where you may go after your appointment with us, or you can go to any CSSS or CLSC near you, or at a private blood collection clinic of your choice.

Although a nuchal translucency ultrasound report is sent to the doctor or midwife less than 48 hours after the appointment, the complete ”Dépistage Prénatal de la trisomie 21” result is calculated by the genetics laboratory at the Centre hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine (CHUSJ).  It is only available after the second blood sample analysis and is sent to the doctor or midwife. This test is offered to all future parents, but it is not mandatory.

Find out more about the Trisomy 21 prenatal screening of Quebec

If your physician is in Ontario (even if you reside in Quebec):

Your Physician will provide a form called ‘’PRENATAL SCREENING for Down Syndrom, Trimosy 18 and Open Neural Tube Defects’’ from the Mont Sinai Hospital. Your Physician will discuss the options available to  you within this program, either the ”First Trimester Combined Screening (FTS)” or the ”Integrated Prenatal Screening (IPS)”. It is imperative to bring this form with you on the day of your appointment since the technologist who will do the ultrasound needs to fill in a section of this form.  If you are having a ”First Trimester Combined Screening”, the blood sample is taken on the day of the ultrasound or on the following days (no later than 13 weeks + 6 days). For  the ”Integrated Prenatal Screening”, the first blood sample is taken on the day of the ultrasound or on the following days (no later than 13 weeks + 6 days) and  the second blood sample is taken between 15 weeks + 3 days and 18 weeks + 6 days.

The Clinique d’échographie de l’Outaouais does not offer a blood sample collection service. Patients of Ontario Physicians must go to a blood collection center in Ontario to ensure the blood sample is properly delivered to the Mount Sinai Hospital Genetic Laboratory.

Although a nuchal translucency ultrasound report is sent to the doctor or midwife less than 48 hours after the appointment, the FTS or IPS result is calculated by the genetics laboratory at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).  It is only available after the second blood sample analysis and is sent to the doctor or midwife. This test is offered to all future parents, but it is not mandatory.

Find out more about the First Trimester Combined Screening in Ontario

Find out more about the Integral Prenatal Screening in Ontario

3D/4D UltrasoundCapture d’écran 2014-02-28 à 15.56.16

3D/4D ultrasound provides beautiful images for you and your family. It allows you to view and keep images of your baby before he or she is born! With the help of an advanced technology, we are able to produce 3D ultrasound images, which allow you to look at your baby’s features in real-time. The 4D ultrasound is the 3D ultrasound in movement.

It is done during the third trimester, between weeks 28 and 32, and includes the following:

  • 3D/4D ultrasound session;
  • Complete third trimester ultrasound;
  • Ultrasound session recorded on DVD;
  • Several pictures of your baby.
  • Option : Your baby’s heartbeat in a teddy bear

A requisition signed by your doctor or midwife is mandatory. Don’t forget to ask for it.

Preparing for the third trimester 3D/4D ultrasound: No preparation is required
Please note that a completed requisition form from your doctor or midwife is required at the time of your appointment. Otherwise, we cannot proceed.

Duration: 40 Minutes

IMPORTANT: Note that multiple pregnancy ultrasound will be charged accordingly , since we have to do a full scan for each fetus. You will need to allow time for each fetuses .