Obstetric Ultrasound

Expert imaging using 3D/4D technology for that first view of your unborn child. 

3D/4D Helps Complete the Picture

An obstetrical (OB) ultrasound exam can be one of the most awe-inspiring studies that we perform. Our enhanced 3D/4D capabilities allow for facial images and movement of the unborn child to be captured real-time in three or four dimensions. These personal moments are shared with a caring and compassionate technologist who understands the complex emotions of the visit.

The First Trimester Screening exam is an easy and noninvasive study that is recommended for pregnant women of all ages to assess the health of their baby. Using an ultrasound exam in combination with a blood sample, First Trimester Screening can help rule out certain genetic disorders and their risk to the baby.

At Washington Radiology, introducing moms-to-be to their unborn child is our specialty. Our physicians are well-respected for their expertise in obstetric ultrasound, and our team is appreciated for their naturally warm and soothing nature. Fully board-certified and holding subspecialty credentials in ultrasound, our radiologists are passionate about providing an exceptional experience.


Ultrasound uses sound waves and their echoes, rather than X-rays, to view internal anatomy. Thus, the patient is not exposed to ionizing radiation. Ultrasound also can provide information about structures that cannot be gathered by conventional X-ray. In most ultrasound examinations, a hand-held transducer and warm gel are placed on the patient's skin. The transducer is both a transmitter and receiver, sending sound waves to the tissues. The reflected echoes are displayed as a two-dimensional image on a video screen.

At 18-20 weeks, you are able to view many internal organs and structures of your baby and likely determine gender.

At 20-34 weeks, your baby is likely too large for a single screen, but key structures such as facial features are observable in breathtaking detail.

Past 34 weeks, 3D images are limited due to the decrease in amniotic fluid, but 2D images are still obtainable.

Like general ultrasound exams, obstetric ultrasound is conducted using sound waves and is radiation free. In the case of obstetric ultrasound, the anatomy of your unborn child can be depicted in amazing detail. Our 3D/4D capabilities allow for facial features and movement to be captured in real-time. The precious moments captured here are often the first-time expecting parents can see their child. Our caring technologists understand the complex emotions of these visits and are here to help you every step of the way.

First Trimester Screening (FTS) is available to all pregnant women who seek early reassurance about the health of their unborn baby. FTS is a combination of an ultrasound exam and a blood test. The ultrasound exam is performed between 11 weeks 1 day and 13 weeks 6 days gestational age. This study documents fetal age, heartbeat, presence or absence of the nasal bone, and thickness of the fluid-filled space at the back of the fetal neck called 'Nuchal Translucency.' The maternal blood sample is analyzed for two specific proteins (free Beta hCG and PAPP-A) by an outside medical genetics laboratory. It is the combination of the information from the ultrasound exam and the results from the laboratory which provides parents-to-be with an accurate risk assessment for the potential presence of certain chromosomal abnormalities.

Fasting is not required for an OB ultrasound exam. However, to accurately perform this study, it is important for your bladder to be full. Please do not empty your bladder beginning two hours prior to your examination. It is not necessary to drink any specific amount of water before your arrival. Detailed ultrasound preparations are also available on the patient preps page on this website.

Preparing for Your Exam

During scheduling, a Washington Radiology team member will review with you the preparation instructions specific to your OB Ultrasound exam. These instructions are repeated here for easy reference.

In addition to the written order from your doctor, please remember to bring any prior images or reports from outside Washington Radiology to your appointment if related to the reason for your visit with us.

  • To accurately perform this study, it is important for your bladder to be full.
  • Please do not empty your bladder beginning two hours prior to your examination.
  • It is not necessary to drink any specific amount of water before your arrival.

If you have any follow-up questions about these preparations, please contact the Washington Radiology office where your exam is scheduled and ask to speak with the nurse.

Our Locations


Fairfax, VA


3022 Williams Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031

Chevy Chase, MD


4445 Willard Avenue
Suite 200
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Washington, DC


2141 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Sterling, VA


21351 Ridgetop Circle
Sterling, VA 20166