Why Would Doctor Order Another Type of Ultrasound?

Jane Foley's picture

QUESTION

Dear Ms Ultrasound,
My sister had her first ultrasound at six months and the doctor told her that she needs to have a different type of ultrasound done because they couldn't find the organs. What does this mean? The doctor can hear the heartbeat. They did see a leg bone, and the baby's feet are down at the vaginal area and it is also turned backwards towards her back.

If you have any suggestions on what this all means please let me know.

Thank you.
Christi

ANSWER

Hi Christi,
Many Ob-Gyn's have small ultrasound machines in their office. They will do very basic ultrasounds on their patients to see for example, if the head is down, to see if there is a heartbeat or to date the pregnancy.

When a doctor is not comfortable with what he/she is seeing they will send them to be scanned by a licensed sonographer and have the images read by a radiologist. The fetus is looked at from every organ to the amount of fluid contained in the amniotic sac to the position of the baby and the placenta.

If after this ultrasound, the medical professionals who specialize in ultrasound still feel there is a problem, an amniocentesis may be ordered along with follow up ultrasounds and possibly an appointment with a perinatalogist. This is a doctor who specializes in high risk pregnancies.

At my facility we take a look at many women who have been scanned at the doctor's office and the doctor or nurse is not sure about what they are looking at. Most of the time the ultrasounds are normal. Once your sister has this other ultrasound you will be able to rely on what is seen and go from there.

-- Jane, RDMS