Prenatal Ultrasound: FSA Eligibility
What is a prenatal ultrasound?
A prenatal ultrasound is a test procedure performed on a pregnant woman to develop an image of the fetus inside her. The ultrasound test uses high-frequency sound waves to create echoes within the woman's abdomen using a device called a transducer. The ultrasound equipment is able to read the echoes and display them as images, which allows the parents and medical doctors to see the fetus and determine its health (Mayo Clinic).
Ultrasounds are normally performed in a doctor's office or outpatient clinic. Ultrasounds can be performed on the exterior of a woman's abdomen, or through the vaginal canal in a procedure called a transvaginal ultrasound. That procedure is less common for pregnant women however.
Ultrasounds are useful for imaging the fetus, the amniotic sac, the placenta, and the ovaries. These images are helpful in determining the health of the woman's pregnancy and the baby's health as well.
Later on in a pregnancy, additional prenatal ultrasounds can determine things about the pregnancy such as the placenta location, the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby, the baby's position, and its expected weight.
Sometimes before an ultrasound the doctor will request that the patient drink several glasses of water in order to have a full bladder, which assists the ultrasound's transducer in receiving clear echoes of the high frequency sound waves that it emits. Clearer echoes resolve to a clearer image for the ultrasound. A special medical gel is applied to the skin to help the transducer pass along its ultrasound waves. It's very common to acquire snapshots of moving images from an ultrasound, and most medical treatment facilities can provide this service to an individual (WebMD).