“Our physicians understand the combination of excitement and anxiety that comes with pregnancy. We make it a priority to provide with clarity and sensitivity the information that every pregnant woman needs in a way that they can understand, while being careful to avoid alarming them unnecessarily.”
- Dr. Stephen Todd Chasen, Director of Obstetric Imaging
Perhaps no other technology in recent times has been as effective in successfully monitoring pregnancies as Ultrasonography. The faculty of the Ultrasound Services Unit in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medicine has been leaders in fetal evaluation and prenatal diagnosis since the unit's inception in 1989; using the most advanced ultrasound machines—some with 3D capabilities.
All members of the unit have been at the forefront in advocating that all pregnant women have access to quality ultrasound during pregnancy. The unit's sonographers and Maternal-Fetal Medicine physicians are highly skilled in evaluating fetal development, and identifying a wide variety of abnormalities. They perform detailed evaluation of fetal anatomy in the second trimester, and can identify or exclude many types of birth defects. First-trimester ultrasound, commonly performed to evaluate the risk of genetic abnormalities, has allowed for the early detection of some major abnormalities before the second trimester.
If physicians suspect or diagnose fetal or maternal complications, they will work with you and your obstetrician to provide you with access to and coordinate care with some of the world’s finest specialists. Together, we will develop the very best treatment options for you and your baby. Detecting early evidence of complications and establishing an effective course of action helps everyone achieve the goal of healthy mothers delivering healthy babies. Read our FAQ below to prepare for your upcoming visit.
All women having their ultrasound completed at the Ultrasound Services Unit will have the opportunity to consult with one of the Weill Cornell Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists to discuss any ultrasound findings. If complications are suspected, our physicians will work with patients and their obstetricians in formulating the best plan.
The range of fetal ultrasonography services includes:
• First and second trimester Down syndrome screening
• Miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy screening
• Multiple pregnancy screening
• Fetal anomaly screening
Assessment and Evaluation
• First trimester evaluation
• Second and third trimester anatomical assessment
• 3-D ultrasound evaluation
• Testing and monitoring
• Biophysical profile and Doppler velocimetry/non-stress testing
• Fetal echocardiography
• Chorionic villi sampling (CVS)
• Cordocentesis/Fetal blood sampling
• We also perform screening, diagnostic, and interventional ultrasound for general gynecology, oncology, and reproductive endocrinology patients. Gynecological ultrasound services include, but not limited to:
o Pelvic evaluation
o Evaluation of ovarian masses
o Screening and detection of ovarian and endometrial cancer
Below are some answers to frequently asked questions related to Ob/Gyn ultrasounds:
How can I ensure that the best quality images are taken?
Arrive with a full bladder. Start drinking plenty of fluid 1 hour before your scheduled exam.
Am I allowed to eat before the exam?
Yes, you may eat before the exam.
Do I need a full bladder if I am here for a CVS or an Amniocentesis?
Yes, the physician will determine when you can empty your bladder.
What is an Anatomy Scan?
An anatomy scan is a pregnancy ultrasound usually performed between 18-20 weeks of gestation in order to assess fetal development and screen for abnormalities.
How long are the ultrasound examinations?
The length of the exam is variable and can depend on the fetal position. Anatomy scans are scheduled for 1 hour, and Twin Anatomy scans are scheduled for 2 hours. Other ultrasound examinations are scheduled for 30 minutes, and other twin ultrasound examinations are scheduled for 1 hour.
Will my anatomy scan be completed in one visit?
Hopefully, yes. However, it can be dependent on the fetal position. You may need to schedule a follow-up appointment to complete the examination.
How will I know my results once the ultrasound is complete?
If you are here for an anatomy scan, a physician will speak to you at the end of the exam. The finalized results of all exams will be sent to your physician the same day.
Am I allowed to ask questions during the examination?
Yes, we promote a pleasant and positive interactive experience between you and your sonographer. However, we ask if you can hold the majority of your questions until the end of the scan so that the sonographer can focus on the exam.
Can I be assured that my baby is healthy?
The anatomy ultrasound can detect most major structural problems with a fetus. While our sonographers and physicians are highly trained in obstetric imaging, ultrasound cannot detect every fetal abnormality.
Can I video tape or take pictures during my ultrasound?
Videotaping or taking pictures of the exam is against our department policies. An electronic copy of your examination can be requested at the front desk.
Can I bring my family members who are visiting?
To comply with new COVID-19 safety measures and social distancing requirements, we are not allowing visitors at ultrasound appointments at this time.
We encourage you to review our updated visitor policy for the most current information.
Can I bring my daughter / son with me to the appointment?
Patients receiving an ultrasound may not be accompanied by children at this time due to ongoing enhanced safety protocols related to COVID-19.
Please review our updated visitor policies for ongoing updates.