Types of Ultrasound that Mothers Need to Know

Types of Ultrasound that Mothers Need to Know

Ultrasound examinations are conducted using high-frequency sound wave technology. There are several types of ultrasounds aimed at visualizing organs inside the body.

Many may assume that ultrasound examinations (USG) are only performed for pregnancy. However, mothers need to know that USG can also be used to detect diseases, assist doctors in various body procedures, and even for biopsy or tissue sampling needs.

Although high-frequency sound wave technology is used, ultrasound examinations are safe because they do not use radiation. This is different from other body scanning procedures such as X-rays and CT scans.

Types of Ultrasound Examinations

Ultrasound examinations have two categories of purposes: pregnancy and diagnostic examinations. There are three common types of ultrasounds performed for mothers, including:

  1. Transabdominal Ultrasound

This examination is also often referred to as abdominal ultrasound. As the name suggests, this examination is performed on the outside of the abdomen by applying gel to the entire abdominal area. The gel will facilitate the movement of the transducer and prevent the presence of air between the skin and the transducer.

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During the procedure, you will be covered with gel, and then the doctor will move the transducer over the abdomen to capture images of the organs inside the abdomen.

This examination is done to monitor the progress of pregnancy as well as for health issues related to internal abdominal organs such as the liver, kidneys, intestines, pancreas, gallbladder, or other internal organs that require abdominal ultrasound examination.

Abdominal ultrasound helps doctors confirm diagnoses. If you have previously been diagnosed with a specific condition by a doctor, this ultrasound test is very important.

  1. Transvaginal Ultrasound

Unlike transabdominal ultrasound, which is performed outside the abdomen, transvaginal ultrasound is an internal examination performed by inserting an ultrasound device called a probe into the vaginal canal.

Through this examination, it will help doctors obtain clearer images of internal organs such as the cervix, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.

Usually, this examination is performed for mothers who want to know the condition of the uterus and its surroundings before starting a pregnancy program. Transvaginal ultrasound is one of the initial steps in the examination for couples facing infertility issues.

  1. Transrectal Ultrasound

Similar to the other two types of ultrasounds, transrectal ultrasound is an examination procedure performed to assess internal organ conditions by inserting a transducer into the rectum or anus. This ultrasound test is used to assess the condition of organs and tissues around the pelvis.

Usually, transrectal ultrasound is performed on women to detect abnormalities in the ovaries. Even for women experiencing menstrual disorders but not yet sexually active, it is recommended to undergo this test rather than transvaginal ultrasound.

This examination may cause some discomfort, as inserting the transducer into the anus may create a sensation similar to needing to have a bowel movement. However, this condition can be minimized by understanding the transrectal ultrasound procedure before undergoing it.


In essence, all three types of ultrasounds are safe and do not have side effects on the body. The procedures are also relatively quick. These examinations are performed according to individual needs and indications. Don’t worry, consult with a doctor first to ensure more accurate results.

The discomfort caused during transvaginal ultrasound or transrectal ultrasound is temporary and will subside after the procedure is completed.

Seek medical attention if you or your family members experience specific indications that require further examination. Come on, get a transvaginal ultrasound now! It’s only 5 minutes* of action, and it’s not painful, you know!

This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Chitra Fatimah.


  • Cullen, M.J., et al. (1989). A comparison of transvaginal and abdominal ultrasound in visualizing the first trimester conceptus. J Ultrasound Med. 1989 Oct;8(10):565-9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2681827/
  • Drukker, L., et al. (2020). Introduction to artificial intelligence in ultrasound imaging in obstetrics and gynecology. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Oct;56(4):498-505.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32530098/
dr. Shanty Olivia F.J, Sp. OG, Subsp. FER hires

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