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Ultrasound is a diagnostic technique using high frequency sound waves to take pictures of your baby. Ultrasound may be used at any time during your pregnancy. The technique used is known as real-time ultrasound. This procedure produces a black and white motion picture that is viewed on a small TV monitor.

There are many reason for using ultrasound. The most common include: 1) to determine the age and size of the baby; 2) to determine the location of the placenta; and 3) to rule out the presence of a multiple pregnancy. Sometimes the sex of the baby can be determined at the time of your ultrasound. Decide if you would like to have this information. In some selected cases, ultrasound helps determine the presence or absence of certain birth defects or abnormalities.

Ultrasound is a very useful diagnostic test. However, it should not be used indiscriminately. To date, there are no known harmful effects from the use of diagnostic ultrasound. If an ultrasound is necessary during your pregnancy, be sure to have a clear understanding of why the test is being done and feel free to ask questions regarding the findings. If you receive a picture from the ultrasound, do not laminate it, as this will ruin the picture.

Non-Stress Testing

A non-stress test is used to closely evaluate the condition of your baby. This test is ordinarily ordered late in pregnancy, usually after the 32nd week, and is customarily done in our office. A fetal heart monitor is attached to your abdomen and the baby’s movements and heart rate are recorded over a period of 20 to 30 minutes. The information obtained from this test helps us to decide a course of action related to your pregnancy.

Biophysical Profile

Sometimes ultrasound and non-stress testing are used together. When we do this, we are conducting a physical exam of the baby. We rate baby activity, baby muscle tone, the presence or absence of breathing movements, the amount of amniotic fluid and the placenta’s condition. This test is one more way for us to evaluate the current health of your baby.


Amniocentesis is a procedure used to draw a small amount of fluid (approximately one ounce) from the bag of water which surrounds the baby during development. This procedure may be done at different times during a pregnancy for various reasons. Early in pregnancy, the fluid will be tested for certain genetic disorders; late in pregnancy, the fluid is tested for infant lung maturity. We refer to a perinatologist in the community for this procedure. He will discuss the risk of the procedure vs the benefits of the procedure at an initial consult.

Note: This information applies only to Sparrow Medical Group Lansing OB/GYN.