Advanced obstetric ultrasound

Our state-of-the-art obstetric ultrasound services allow for viewing and monitoring of your baby. An ultrasound may be used to identify gestational age and fetal anatomy, monitor fetal growth, or determine structure and location of the placenta and blood flow.

We also offer fetal echocardiography, first-trimester nuchal translucency screening and ultrasound-guided prenatal procedures.

What are the risks of ultrasound?
Ultrasound is safe and painless and uses sound waves to see your baby. No radiation is involved. To learn more, visit the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine website.

Who will perform my ultrasound?
A registered diagnostic medical sonographer specializing in high-risk obstetrics will complete your ultrasound, and a maternal fetal medicine specialist will interpret the scan. In most cases, you will know the results of your ultrasound at your visit. Our ultrasound program is AIUM accredited.

How long will the ultrasound take?
It varies depending on the type of ultrasound you need, if you are expecting multiples and the overall position of your baby. Your exam may take longer if our team finds something unexpected or if your baby just isn’t in the right position at your appointment. You may need to return on a different day.

How do I prepare for my ultrasound appointment?

  • If you are less than 14 weeks pregnant, please arrive with a full bladder. If your bladder is painful when full, you may empty a small amount to ensure comfort. A full bladder is not required if you are more than 14 weeks pregnant.
  • Arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow time for registration.
  • Bring your current insurance card with you.
  • Limit your guests to three individuals (including children). There will need to be an adult over the age of 18 to care for any children who accompany you.
  • If you arrive late for your appointment, we may not be able to accommodate you the same day. If you know that you are going to be late, please call 616.391.3681.

Can I get a digital recording or photos of my baby?
Recording for nondiagnostic purposes is not performed, but we may provide you with digital keepsake pictures of your baby. The baby’s position, gestational age and maternal build may limit our ability to get the best picture. To protect the privacy of our patients and staff, we do not allow electronic recording in the office and ask that cellphones be turned off or silent during your appointment.

What will happen if a problem is detected during my ultrasound?
If we find something abnormal, you’ll meet with a maternal fetal medicine specialist before you leave. There are limitations to ultrasound, and not all abnormalities can be detected prenatally.

Will a student perform part of my ultrasound?
Spectrum Health prides itself on the clinical education provided to our students, including diagnostic medical sonography students, medical students, and resident physicians in training. While we hope that you will take part in their education, we understand if you have reservations and respect your right to refuse. Regardless of your choice, the quality of your exam will not be impacted, and a trained, registered sonographer will still be performing the scan to evaluate your baby.

Can I have a 3-D ultrasound of my baby?
Our 3-D/4-D technology is used at the provider’s discretion when there is a suspected or known fetal abnormality.

Will I be able to find out the gender of my baby?
We may be able to tell you the gender of your baby depending on gestational age, position and maternal build. An ultrasound is not always 100 percent accurate.