Transvaginal Ultrasound Scan (TVS) During Pregnancy

Transvaginal Ultrasound Wand 

Pregnancy is a crucial and sensitive phase for a mother-to-be, and extreme care needs to be taken to ensure all is well with both the mother and the baby. Amongst various tests conducted to check their well-being, a Transvaginal Ultrasound Scan or TVS is one of the most reliable tests in today’s time.

What is a Transvaginal Scan?

All ultrasound tests use high-frequency sound waves to project as-is images of the pregnant woman’s internal organs. This helps the doctor to identify and diagnose abnormalities. The same principle is applied in a TVS. During this test, the doctor is able to examine female reproductive organs like ovaries, vagina, cervix, fallopian tubes and uterus. This is an internal examination where the doctor inserts an ultrasound probe into the vaginal canal, and the sound waves help to create an image of the foetus inside. When magnified, the doctor can determine any abnormalities or inconsistencies.

Wand used during transvaginal scan

When is a TVS Ultrasound Needed?

The doctor is likely to suggest a TVS ultrasound during the first six to ten weeks if there is a history of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy or if the mother is in pain, is bleeding or has undergone infertility treatment.
This test is also carried out after ten weeks until the end of the term. It can also be necessary if the mother has a preterm labour history and therefore it is required to check her cervix. It can also be recommended if the mother is overweight and the images are not clear during regular scans.

When is the Scan Conducted and how Much Time does it Take?

The TVS scan takes about 30 to 60 minutes which includes preparing the to-be-mother for the test. It is conducted when the doctor wants to take a look at the foetus’s growth during the early stages of pregnancy, i.e. before ten weeks. A transvaginal scan allows the doctor to see the baby as it is not possible to do so through abdominal scans since the baby is tiny and sits low in the mother’s abdomen.

Why is a Transvaginal Ultrasound Done?

The doctor will be able to listen to the baby’s heartbeat by conducting this test and detect any abnormalities. Amongst other benefits of transvaginal ultrasound test, the doctor can eliminate any possibilities of ectopic pregnancy and ensure that the pregnancy is coming along well. It also helps to check if the mother is carrying twins or triplets. Also, if the mother is suffering from bleeding, spotting or pain in the lower abdomen, the doctor uses this test to determine the cause.

Examining the baby by conducting an ultrasound scan during pregnancy

How to Prepare for A TVS?

Since the test requires undressing from below the waist, it is advisable to wear appropriate clothing such as slacks or salwar kurta while going for the test. A TVS is carried out by either doctors or technicians, and they can be of either sex. If you prefer a female to conduct the test, make sure you inform the clinic in advance. Many women find the TVS more comfortable since it doesn’t require a full bladder. In fact, an empty bladder is better so a clear picture of the baby can be easily obtained.

TVS Ultrasound Procedure

After undressing waist down, you will be asked to lie on your back with your legs spread out and bent at the knees. The nurse will cover your lower half with a sheet. The doctor will insert the probe about two to three inches into the vaginal passage. The probe is covered with a latex sheath which has gel over it to allow easy entry. You could feel uncomfortable initially, but you should try to take a deep breath and relax for a quick and pain-free test.

What Happens after the Scan?

If you were tensed during the scan, your muscles might feel sore for a while. There could be an uncomfortable feeling initially and even some spotting right after the scan. This could happen if the tiny blood vessels around the cervix have burst. However, this is normal unless bleeding is followed by lower abdominal cramps, in which case you must inform your doctor.

Risks and Side Effects of Transvaginal Ultrasound Scan

Since there is no radiation involved during TVS, it considered as safe for both the mother and the baby by the medical fraternity. There are no risk factors involved in this kind of imaging technique. However, if you feel extreme discomfort during the test, then inform the doctor immediately.

What can Transvaginal Ultrasound Results Depict?

Analysed by a radiologist, the TVS results help the doctor in diagnosing conditions like fibroids, cysts, cancer, pelvic infection, miscarriage, low-lying placenta, ectopic pregnancy and routine pregnancy.

How Much Does Transvaginal Ultrasound Cost?

The cost of a TVS scan might vary from city to city. Even the type of medical centre you chose might affect the cost. But on average a TVS scan should cost between Rs 700 to Rs 1100.

FAQ’s

1. Can a TVS Cause Miscarriage?

As long as the transvaginal ultrasound is conducted by a trained professional at a known facility, there are no chances of it causing a miscarriage. Like any other pregnancy ultrasound, a TVS test of the uterus is considered safe.

2. Is TVS Ultrasound Painful?

The TVS scan can be painful if you are stressed and your muscles are tight during the test. For a pain-free experience, it is suggested that you relax and take deep breaths before and during the test. Inform the doctor if you still feel the pain or feel a significant discomfort.

Although you may experience minor discomfort and awkwardness during the TVS scan, the results are the most reliable and are available within 24 hours. This risk-free test is highly-recommended for a clear picture of the baby and the mother’s internal organs.

Pregnant woman looking at the ultrasound scan of her baby

Also Read: 3D and 4D Ultrasound Scan during Pregnancy