Ultrasound vs Sonogram

Ultrasound Vs Sonogram
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ULTRASOUND was introduced to medicine in the 1950s and it was primarily used for pregnant women at that time.

This method was first used in the field of science by the Italian scientist Lazaro Spallanzani in the late 1700s to early 1800s. He used ultrasound waves to determine how they could convey distances and directions through sounds of echoes by studying bats.

SONOGRAM, on the other hand, was discovered through studying the ability of dolphins and whales to detect directions and shapes by sending sound waves that return to them as echoes. This is called sonar, a technique mainly studied and used by ocean navigators until now.

What Is The Difference Between an Ultrasound and a Sonogram?

The Difference Between an Ultrasound and a Sonogram

In the field of medicine, ultrasound and sonogram go together. You cannot perform one without the other.


They are not one and the same.

Together, an ultrasound and sonogram help in diagnosing what is normal or not inside the body.


ULTRASOUND is the method in medicine of using sound waves to create an image of the parts of the body that is being examined. Technicians use high frequency sound waves to record the speed of echoes that bounce back.

It is non-invasive and is relatively safe to use even in pregnant women because they don’t contain radiation in the same way as x-ray machines. Ultrasound measures the spaces and distances through the use of sound waves.

  • Important Note: Though ultrasound tests are safe, it is still not recommended to have them numerous times or if not required by a doctor. Ultrasound can produce gas pockets due to the heat it emits.

SONOGRAM is defined as the reflective image created through the sound waves and patterns produced from an ultrasound test. In a more descriptive way, sonogram is the picture of a fetus, internal organs, blood vessels or tissues obtained by having an ultrasound.

This is done through the sound waves that bounce back and are collected by the probe used by a trained sonographer who transfers the echoes to a computer that in return will create the images.

Ultrasound 3D/Three Dimensional Ultrasound

Ultrasound 3D/Three Dimensional Ultrasound

This is not the regular ultrasound test. This type of ultrasound is used for pregnant women. Like the ordinary ultrasound, 3D Ultrasound also uses high frequency sound waves to produce the image of the fetus but they get to photograph the baby’s features like the face, arms, and body. They come as either black and white or colored images.

Ultrasound 4D/Four Dimensional Ultrasound

Ultrasound 4D/Four Dimensional Ultrasound

This type of ultrasound not only shows the baby’s features but also captures the movements. In short, this is a sort of video recording of the baby’s activity inside the womb at the time the ultrasound test is being taken. It can actually show if the baby yawns or smiles or sucks his own thumb.

  • Important Note: Compared to a standard ultrasound test, both 3D and 4D ultrasounds are relatively expensive. As these are used for pregnancy, it is therefore advisable to be carried out by obstetricians themselves and not ordinary technicians when necessary to avoid any risk to the fetus with constant exposures.

Fetal Echocardiography

Fetal Echocardiography

This is similar to the standard ultrasound which is done if the obstetrician feels there is something wrong with the fetus’s heartbeat, if there is a possible fetal congenital heart problem and also to check the size, shape and functions of the baby’s heart while inside the womb. This procedure is carried out during the 2nd trimester of pregnancy.

When Can You Get Your First Sonogram?

When Can You Get Your First Sonogram?

Sonogram tests can only be performed under the request of a doctor. Although there’s really not much risk to the body, there’s no need to have these tests unless necessary.

When Is an Ultrasound Required?

Ultrasound is often recommended by doctors in cases like pregnancy, for diagnosing internal organ problems, detecting benign or cancerous tumors, checking blood vessel abnormalities, and in evaluating reproductive organs’ normalcy.

Ultrasound and Pregnancy

Ultrasound and Pregnancy

Ultrasound was first used in the field of medicine for pregnant women in 1956 in Glasgow, UK by its inventor Dr. Ian Donald. This diagnostic machine was used to detect a baby’s gender, possible birth defects and any abnormalities that may be found in the fetus inside the womb.

  • From then on, ultrasound has been a very helpful tool not just for pregnant mothers but for all patients who need an examination of their body to check for any irregularities or diseases.

When Should Pregnant Women Have their First Ultrasound?

When Should Pregnant Women Have their First Ultrasound

Ultrasounds on pregnant women can be done anytime the obstetrician deems it necessary. This is simply another test to check if a woman is really pregnant aside from the urine exam.

Ultrasound, as mentioned previously, is generally safe for pregnant mothers and the fetus but should not be abused by excited moms who want to see how their babies are doing too regularly as it can cause gas pockets in tissues and bones.

  • On their 1st trimester (day one of pregnancy to 3rd month), an ultrasound is done to check for any fetal abnormalities, fetal heartbeat, number of fetus’s present, to determine the fetus age and possible due date, to check for ectopic pregnancy and also the mother’s reproductive organs.
  • From the 2nd to 3rd trimesters (4th to 9th month of pregnancy), obstetricians perform ultrasound to determine the baby’s gender, check for any possible congenital malformations, check the baby’s heartbeat and movements, scope out any multiple pregnancies (twins or triplets!), check the placenta, reproductive organs, amniotic fluid, blood flow and measure the cervix.
  • In some extreme cases, an ultrasound can even reveal fetal death.

Wrap Up

Having an ultrasound request from the doctor isn’t usually great news for most patients because the suspicion is that the health practitioner fears there is something wrong within the body.

It’s different, though, for expecting women who are very eager to see how the little creature inside their tummy looks like and how he is doing.

Whatever the possible outcome of any ultrasound test, the procedure shouldn’t be avoided because it always proves beneficial for everyone. Forewarned is forearmed.

As always, we hope we have provided you with some helpful information. If you have any queries, comments and suggestions please feel free to get in touch with us.

Hi there, I’m Mary, editor at My Mommy Guide. I want to help make every step of the journey with your new baby easier. My goal is to inform you about as wide a range of subjects related to newborns as possible. Whether you are a new mother or the parents of several kids, this site aims to cater for all. Although there are no rules for being a parent, there is certainly plenty of sound practice. I will bring you ongoing, fresh content and always encourage your feedback. Welcome to our site!
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  1. Ultrasound is not generally safe for moms or fetuses. Please read beyond the conventional practices and take a look at the science yourself. It is not a good idea to get ANY ultrasounds. With an autism rate as high as 1 in 45, we must do everything we can to protect our children’s growing brains. I hope you and your readers will take the time to look at these articles (and the accompanying scientific references): http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865663984/Why-some-experts-suggest-holding-off-on-first-trimester-ultrasounds.html and http://reset.me/story/17-scans-in-one-pregnancy-why-these-scientists-warn-ultrasound-could-harm-developing-brain/

    1. Reply

      Hi Jennifer,

      We would not agree that ultrasounds are generally unsafe. Most medical opinion would also not suggest that they are unsafe.

      As we point out in our article:

      “It is not recommended to have them numerous times or if not required by a doctor.”

      According to Web MD, “All medical procedures have risk. But, there’s no evidence to show a prenatal ultrasound done properly will harm a mother or her unborn child.”


      This represents the standard medical line on ultrasounds, certainly not that they are inherently unsafe.

      Thanks for links to the articles.

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