An Ultimate Guide to the Ultrasound Scanner in Pregnancy Examination

Introduction of Pregnancy Ultrasound

In a pregnancy ultrasound, high-frequency sound waves are used to provide a picture of the mother’s reproductive organs and the growing baby. The average number of ultrasounds varies depending on the pregnancy. A pregnancy ultrasound, sonogram, or ultra-sonogram (USG) helps to monitor healthy fetal growth and look for any potential pregnancy issues.

Baby Under Ultrasound

At various phases of the baby’s growth during pregnancy, a healthcare provider may recommend ultrasound scans depending on the condition of the pregnant woman. Healthy pregnancies may not require any ultrasound scan, whereas healthcare providers may advise many ultrasound examinations in various stages of pregnancy in case of ectopic or molar pregnancies.

Observing a Baby’s Development with ultrasound

Types of ultrasound scanning in Pregnancy Examination

  • Transvaginal Scans

A transvaginal ultrasound allows medical professionals to see your pelvic cavity and the organs inside your pelvis. These include organs such as ovaries, cervix, fallopian tubes, and uterus. A transvaginal ultrasound demonstrates abnormal structures or growths in your pelvic area that may indicate a condition or disease. In a transvaginal scan, specially crafted probe transducers are placed within the vagina to produce sonogram pictures, and it is utilized most frequently in the first trimester of pregnancy.

How it is Used:

An instrument is placed into the vagina, causing sound waves to bounce against organs inside the pelvic. These sound waves generate echoes, which are relayed to a computer, which generates an image known as a sonogram.


Transvaginal sonography provides for a thorough examination of uterine and endometrial anatomical anomalies. Pathologies of the myometrium, cervix, tubes, and ovaries may also be evaluated.

  • Standard Ultrasound

A standard ultrasound exam assesses the physical development of the fetus, screens for serious congenital defects, and calculates gestational age. A routine ultrasound test can also reveal the following information:

What to expect at a pregnancy ultrasound?
  1. Position, movement, breathing, and heart rate of the fetus
  2. An estimation of the size and weight of the fetus
  3. The quantity of amniotic fluid in the uterus
  4. The position of the placenta
  5. The number of fetuses
How it is Used:

The transducer is placed over the abdomen, which creates 2-D pictures of the growing fetus.


Standard ultrasound is used to monitor pregnancy in a regular manner as well as to identify and monitor medical issues other than pregnancy.

  • Advanced Ultrasound

Advanced ultrasound is familiar with the standard ultrasound, yet the exam targets a suspected problem and uses more sophisticated equipment. Advanced Ultrasound examination resembles a typical ultrasound, except that it focuses on a potential issue and makes use of more advanced technology.

How it is Used:

The transducer is placed over the abdomen, which creates 2-D pictures of the growing fetus.


Advanced ultrasound enables for more precise identification of diffuse diseases, such as pelvic infection or endometriosis. It can also detect variations in blood flow inside the ovary that indicate hormonal activity and ovulatory changes without requiring blood testing.

What can be detected in a pregnancy ultrasound?
  • Doppler Ultrasound

A Doppler ultrasound, as a noninvasive test, can be used as a medical intervention to estimate the blood flow through your blood vessels by bouncing high-frequency sound waves off circulating red blood cells. A normal ultrasound utilizes sound waves to create pictures of organs but cannot detect blood flow.

How it is Used:

The ultrasound waves used in this Doppler Ultrasound are measured for minute variations in frequency as they pass through moving things like blood cells.


A Doppler ultrasonography may measure the pace at which blood flows by detecting the rate at which its pitch changes (frequency). A technician trained in Doppler ultrasound imaging (sonographer) presses a tiny handheld instrument (transducer) against your body across the region of your body, being scanned, moving from one area to another as needed.

  • 3-D Ultrasound

3-D ultrasound is a technique that converts standard 2-D grayscale ultrasound images into a volumetric dataset. The 3-D picture is then inspected retrospectively. The approach was created for problem-solving (especially in obstetric/gynecologic tests) and to potentially lessen the operator’s reliance on ultrasound imaging.

How it is Used:

A 3-D ultrasound utilizes software and sophisticated probes to create 3-D photos of the growing fetus.


3D ultrasound has found a helpful application in examining the uterus’ coronal plane. This has been proven to be beneficial for the following purposes: 

  • assessing uterine shape anomalies (e.g., Mullerian duct abnormalities)
  • assessing intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) site Problem-solving for:
  1. uterine fibroids (particularly % submucosal component)
  2. endometrial polyps
  3. intrauterine adhesions
Baby Under 3D Ultrasound
  • 4-D or Dynamic 3-D Ultrasound

A 4D ultrasound differs from a 3D ultrasound in that it includes the dimension of time, allowing you to see the baby in motion while kicking, stretching, yawning, sucking their thumb, and opening and shutting their eyes. The static image from a 3D ultrasound is brought to life via 4D ultrasound.

How it is Used:

A 4-D ultrasound uses scanners with specialized software to examine the baby’s face and motions before birth. This shows a real-time video of the baby in the womb.


4D ultrasounds can reveal the baby with pinpoint precision and in real-time at any gestational age, providing them an edge over 3D ultrasounds. In addition to being in real-time (24 pictures per second), it is rendered in sepia color, allowing the user to view the face, hands, feet, and even the whole bone structure in volume.

Baby under 4D ultrasound
  • Fetal Echocardiography

Fetal echocardiography is a medical intervention that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to evaluate the baby’s heart for problems before birth.

How it is Used:

Fetal echocardiography evaluates the structure and function of the baby’s heart using ultrasound waves. This aids in evaluating potential congenital cardiac abnormalities.

  • If the pregnant woman has already had a child born with a heart defect.
  • If there is a family history of genetic heart problems.
  • If the pregnant woman has a health condition such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, genetic conditions, or exposure to certain medications.
  • If the standard
  •  ultrasound indicates a possible abnormality or if the baby’s heart can’t be clearly seen.
  • Ectopic pregnancy

When the fertilized egg attaches itself elsewhere other than the uterus, it results in an ectopic pregnancy. The majority of occurrences take place in the fallopian tube, giving them the nickname “tubal pregnancies.”

An ectopic pregnancy can lead to the fallopian tube bursting open. An ultrasound scan helps the healthcare provider to locate the exact location of the developing fetus and make a proper judgment related to ectopic pregnancy.

  • Multiple pregnancies

Multiple pregnancies occur when a woman is carrying more than one child at the same time. If women carry two babies, they are called twins. Triplets are three babies born during the same pregnancy. It is also possible to bear more than three kids at once (high-order multiples). Many women experience multiple pregnancy symptoms, leading them to believe they are carrying more than one kid.

Multiple pregnancies have increased risks for complications. The following are the most prevalent complications:

  1. Preterm labor and birth
  2. Gestational hypertension
  3. Anemia
  4. Birth defects
  5. Miscarriage
  6. Cesarean delivery
  7. Postpartum hemorrhage

An ultrasound scan can be used to verify such types of pregnancy cases.

  • Gestational age

Accurate gestational age measurements may decrease post-dates for labor induction and enhance obstetric care by allowing for the best timing of required procedures and the avoidance of unneeded ones. The precision of the gestational age estimation may be compromised by differences in each woman’s cycle and each pregnancy.

To determine gestational age, a doctor will consider blood hormone levels, the time since the previous period, and, occasionally, the findings of an ultrasound. The reports of an ultrasound scan help healthcare providers in assessing whether the size of the embryo or fetus is consistent with its age.

What are the stages of baby growth in the womb?
  • Chances of miscarriage

Early in pregnancy, ultrasound scans are typically performed to ensure that the pregnancy is progressing correctly and ruling out miscarriage. The most frequent early pregnancy problem, which affects around one in every six early pregnancies, is miscarriage. Although not all women who have pain and bleeding lose the baby, ultrasound scans are required to determine whether the pregnancy is progressing properly in spite of symptoms.

When expectant mothers can do the pregnancy ultrasound and the purposes of ultrasounds in different stages

Many healthy pregnancies will not require ultrasonography since it should only be performed when medically required. The average number of tests performed varies per healthcare practitioner. If a healthcare professional fears a pregnancy issue or concern, more ultrasounds may be scheduled as required. Some of the reasons why healthcare provider may recommend ultrasound scan is given in the table.

Stage of pregnancyType of ScanPossible reasons for an ultrasound scan
   First trimester (7 weeks)   Early viability scan To confirm pregnancy Check ectopicDetermine due dateConfirm heartbeatMeasure the crown-rump length or gestational age
   Second trimester (13 – 14 weeks)(18 – 20 weeks)   Nuchal Translucency (NT) ScanAnomaly Scan Evaluate the possibility of down’s syndromeDetect other anomaliesConfirm multiples pregnancyVerify dates and growthConfirm intrauterine deathIdentify hydramnios or oligohydramnios – excessive or reduced levels of amniotic fluidEvaluation of fetal well-being
   Third trimester(34 weeks)   Fetal Growth Scan Evaluate sizeVerify placental positionObserve fetal presentationObserve fetal movementsIdentify uterine and pelvic abnormalities of the motherConfirm intrauterine death

Challenges of traditional diagnostic methods

Ultrasonography has been a good choice as a diagnostic method among clinicians. However, during the pandemic, it is inconvenient for pregnant mothers to go to the hospital for pregnancy examinations. Due to strict COVID protocols, pregnant women are advised to stay home to minimize exposure to infections. This also helps healthcare professionals to maintain patient volume in the healthcare facility.  

In circumstances where social distancing is mandatory, remote care is favored to minimize the transmission of infection. During the COVID pandemic, many health systems quickly shifted to virtual formats for the majority of noncritical conditions as feasible to safeguard both the public and the healthcare workers. The pandemic has seen a sharp rise in telemedicine which is basically sharing of medical information between healthcare providers and patients, and a lot of appointments were made through audio, video, or messaging platforms.

Telemedicine has brought a significant change in prenatal services. Pregnant women are a particularly vulnerable group during viral outbreaks, and recent research suggests that COVID-19 infection during pregnancy is linked to relatively high rates of severe maternal morbidity, intensive care admissions as well as poor obstetric outcomes.

Telehealth treatments help to reduce obstacles to care such as transportation, provider shortages, travel distance, waiting time, and psychological stresses. As a result, these approaches may reduce the total burden of prenatal care sessions. Such interventions can begin to satisfy the requirements of vulnerable communities by offering prompt access to treatment, frequent and convenient interaction, and active patient-centered participation. Telehealth is not much effective as traditional ultrasound scanners, and this is why the latest portable ultrasound scanners have become so popular.

Portable ultrasound scanners are equipped with the latest onboard technology and can deliver effective results even remotely. This feature is really useful during a pandemic when pregnant mothers are self-isolating and there is a crowding of patients at health care facilities.

In such scenarios, portable ultrasound scanners can solve the issues related to traditional scanners as they are small enough to be carried wherever necessary, and diagnoses can be made remotely. The results obtained can be shared via smartphone/tablet with multiple healthcare providers if required to make necessary, proper decisions.

Image from the portable ultrasound

Applications and strengths of the portable ultrasound scanner

1. Accurate and Instant Diagnosis

Medical professionals are frequently obliged to conduct consultations without an ultrasound since there isn’t an appropriate imaging device available. This can lead to inaccurate diagnoses, which are dangerous for the patient. Proper diagnosis by ultrasound becomes necessary in cases of ectopic or molar pregnancies, and improper judgment in such situations may prove dangerous for the patients. 

Critical care patients are extremely sensitive to any movements. Thus, it cannot be transported from facility to facility or even room to room for imaging purposes. By bringing imaging capabilities to the patient’s location, whether it be an intensive care unit (ICU) or emergency department, portable ultrasounds fully avoid the difficulty of transferring critical patients.

Portable ultrasounds can provide accurate and speedy diagnoses wherever the patient is located. Pregnant mothers, critical care patients who are not able to move around, and self-isolating patients during a pandemic may be benefitted from portable ultrasound scanners.  

2. Improved Patient Throughput

Even if the institution is equipped with the traditional ultrasound machine, practitioners are compelled to redirect pregnant women to the room that houses the sole equipment, which causes endless wait times for patients. This can lead to overcrowding in the hospital, which can be stressful for both patients and doctors. Critically ill patients who are not able to attend the healthcare facility can take benefit from portable ultrasound scanners.

Medical practitioners can acquire portable ultrasound scanners, which can lessen the strain on their practice. By providing more rooms with an ultrasound scanner, practitioners may see more patients in less time while maintaining quality.

3. Affordable Care

Standard ultrasound equipment is not only unwieldy but also far more expensive than portable medical equipment. Prices for standard machines might be as high as 200,000 USD or more. This increases the overall cost of treatment, and marginalized communities are the worst affected by the costlier healthcare system. 

Because portable ultrasound machines are so affordable, physicians, general practitioners, and specialists may buy different equipment for each clinic, avoiding the need to move it from one location to another. The main benefit of a portable ultrasound scanner is to ordinary families who cannot afford hefty scanning fees.

4. Improved Ease of Operation and Convenience

The availability of portable medical equipment alleviates the demands for medical professionals to redirect pregnancy woman elsewhere (another department or external imaging facility) for ultrasound imaging. Doctors may provide focused attention and reliable diagnosis to their patients by offering ultrasound imaging in their own clinics.

Furthermore, by avoiding the need for patients to go to a distant ultrasound imaging center, clinicians save both time and money. As a result, patients may obtain continuous, end-to-end treatment in a single place, with more comfort and ease.

Viatom Portable Ultrasound Scanners

Viatom is a high-tech firm that specializes in R&D and the manufacture of the portable ultrasound scanner. For many years, Viatom has been closely involved in several medical disciplines and continues to invent and create mobile medical equipment.

One of the key aims of the company is to help individuals understand and maintain their health by providing wearable medical solutions. Now individuals can better understand their health and obtain more competent advice by using Viatom’s ultrasound scanner.

Figure 11. Viatom Linear head (left) and dual head (right) portable ultrasound scanners
Linear Head Full Body Ultrasound Scanner:


Wireless networking that is simple to use.

• In-built and changeable battery

• Wireless charging is supported.

• High-resolution digital imaging technology.

• Low cost, tiny and light, and portable.

• Useful in hospitals, emergency rooms, clinics, and outdoor settings.

• Tablet and smartphone compatibility (iOS, Android).

• Intelligent terminal platform, strong application and storage expansion functions

Battery Life    3 ~ 5 hours
Charger    USB charging cable
Dimension    156mm × 60mm × 20mm
Display Mode    B, B/M
Recharge Time    fully charged within 2 hours
Scanning Mode    Electronic array
Weight    230g
Dual-Head full-body scanner


• Wireless connection; simple to use.

• A built-in and changeable battery.

• Allow for wireless charging.

• Advanced digital photography technology, crisp image

• Low-cost, tiny and light, and portable.

• Useful in a hospital, emergency room, clinic, or outdoors.

• Compatible with tablets and smartphones (iOS, Android).

• Intelligent terminal platform with robust application and storage expansion features

Battery Life≥2.5 hours
Dimension156mm x 60mm x 20mm
Weight260g (0.6 lbs)
Color Doppler VersionB+Color, B+PDI, B+PW
Display ModeB, B/M
Scanning ModeElectronic array

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