Pelvic Ultrasound

On the day

When you visit Adelaide Women’s Imaging for a pelvic ultrasound you will be greeted by one of our friendly reception staff.

A sonographer will then collect you from our reception area and take you to the ultrasound room. You may need to change into a medical gown for your procedure.

Once the sonographer has taken an initial set of images, they will be reviewed by the obstetrician / gynaecologist. On many occasions the doctor will then also perform a brief ultrasound assessment. Wherever possible, you will be given feedback regarding results at the time of the scan.


How long will the procedure take?

Scanning may take up to 1 hour but generally most appointments are for 30 minutes. Often the obstetrician / gynaecologist will come to speak with you and view the screen. This is quite routine and should not cause alarm. The images are then interpreted by the obstetrician / gynaecologist and the results will then be forwarded to your doctor.

Ultrasound is a widely used technique which produces detailed images of the body, such as the pelvic area including the uterus (womb) and ovaries. Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves (much higher than human ears can hear) which are produced by the ultrasound probe (transducer). The reflected sound waves are detected by the probe and used to create an image which is displayed on the television screen of the ultrasound machine.

The sound energy used is absorbed by the body as heat but there is no noticeable warming effect. There are no known harmful effects.


Empty your bladder 1 hour prior to the procedure, then drink 2 glasses (500ml) of water and hold it. Do not empty your bladder again (you may be delayed if your bladder is not full). You need to be uncomfortably full but not in severe discomfort. Specific instructions will be provided when you make an appointment.


The sonographer will ask you to lie on a couch next to the ultrasound machine. A clear gel is applied to the area to be examined. The ultrasound probe is then placed in contact with the skin and moved over the surface to study the tissues below.

When the still pictures are taken you may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds.

The scan is completely painless, although pressure may be applied to improve the view in some areas.

Please tell the sonographer should this become uncomfortable.

For most women referred for a pelvic scan, a transvaginal assessment is considered a routine part of the procedure. This is because much more detail and information can be obtained with the use of a transvaginal ultrasound probe, improving the accuracy of ultrasound diagnosis.

The transvaginal scan is performed with an empty bladder, and as a result many patients find it more comfortable. The probe is about the same diameter as a thumb, and is lubricated with gel before insertion into the vagina. A protective cover is placed over the transducer each time it is used, so there is no risk of infection.

There are times when a transvaginal scan will not be required, and we recognise that it will not be a suitable or acceptable procedure for all women. If you have any concerns please discuss them with the sonographer. It is your decision whether to proceed with this part of the examination.