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Pregnancy Words: Ultrasound or Sonogram, So Which is Correct?

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Pregnancy related image Photo: Getty Images

When you are pregnant, you might be asked to come in for an ultrasound, and later on someone might ask you about your a sonogram. And you might wonder "are they the same thing? Which term is correct?"

Actually, they both are; even though ultrasound and sonogram technically are different, they are used interchangeably and refer to the same exam performed during pregnancy.

To be clearer, an ultrasound exam is used for prenatal diagnostics. It employs high-frequency sound waves to scan a woman’s abdomen and pelvic cavity. What is returned is translated into a picture (sonogram) viewable on an electronic monitor.

There are several different types of ultrasound procedures:
• Transvaginal ultrasound
• Standard ultrasound
• Advanced ultrasound
• Doppler ultrasound
• 3-D ultrasound
• 4-D or dynamic 3-D ultrasound
• Fetal echocardiography

The type of ultrasound used is determined by the stage of pregnancy and reason for performing the exam. For instance, in early stages of pregnancy, a transvaginal ultrasound may be performed to rule out ectopic pregnancy. A standard ultrasound may be performed at 12 or 15 weeks of a pregnancy to view the fetus and take measurements of the developing fetus.

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American Pregnancy Association: Ultrasound
EmpowHER: Diagnostic Ultrasound of the Abdomen

Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and lives in a home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.

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EmpowHER Guest

I think it depends what country you're from :)
I'm from the UK and we don't use the term sonogram at all, although I know what it means. The person who performs the scan is the radiographer, and I don't really know why because there's no radiation with baby scans, unless it's because he also does X-rays, whereas in the US, you call him the sonographer, which is probably a more sensible term.

March 20, 2011 - 4:37am
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