Holiday HoursBoth Atwell locations are closed December 23 – January 2nd. We will reopen for regular hours at Hamilton on January 2nd and Oakville on January 3rd.  If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please go to your nearest walk in clinic or emergency room. 

Merry Christmas from the Atwell team!

What Is A Point-Of-Care Ultrasound?

With the changing landscape in health care, more and more patients are receiving improved diagnostic tests like point-of-care ultrasounds. This ultrasound can diagnose an abdominal aortic aneurysm, pneumonia,  heart failure, or assess new pregnancies. Thanks to its speed and accurate testing, point-of-care ultrasound provides women with prompt and reliable ultrasound testing. 

If you’re confused and wondering, “What is a point-of-care ultrasound?”, keep reading. 

Point-of Care-Ultrasound? 

Point-of-care ultrasound (aka P.O.C.U.S) is used by trained medical professionals to diagnose patients for specific medical problems but can also assess women experiencing new pregnancies. 

At Atwell Centre, we offer this assessment tool to provide pregnant women with limited but detailed information regarding their pregnancy. These ultrasound scans emit high-frequency sound waves, which can be safely used during the first, second, and third trimesters. Ultrasound procedures can include a transvaginal and transabdominal ultrasound scan. 

What Do We Assess For?

Once a pregnancy test has been deemed positive, patients may decide to consent for further assessments with our point-of-care ultrasound service. 

The main three things we assess when a client comes in for P.O.C.U.S include:

  • Identifying if the location of the pregnancy is within the uterus
  • The presence of cardiac activity
  • The estimated  gestational age of the embryo

The information gained during the ultrasound scan augments the options discussed with our registered nurses, which include parenting, adoption, or abortion. 

Are There Different Types of Ultrasound Methods?

There are two different types of ultrasound methods used, depending on how far along the patient is in their pregnancy. Our P.O.C.U.S. uses a tool called a transducer that uses sound waves to create images of your baby on a computer. 

The most common ultrasounds are:


This starts with the patient lying on their back on an examining table. A medical professional coats the abdomen in a thin layer of gel, which helps the sound waves move more easily and provides a better picture . The transducer is moved across your belly to allow the sound waves to do their job. 

In most cases, you may need to drink a lot of water before the assessment because having a full bladder provides a medium to better visualize the pregnancy along with pushing the uterus out of the pelvis. While holding a full bladder may be uncomfortable, ultrasounds only take about 20 minutes. 


This type of ultrasound is performed through the birth canal. Patients will lie on their backs on an examination table with their feet in stirrups. The medical professional will use a transducer that looks like a wand and perform the ultrasound scan. With the transducer , you may feel some pressure, but it typically doesn’t cause any pain. 

Your bladder will need to be empty  to receive this ultrasound method. It also takes roughly 20 minutes to complete. 

Are There Any Risks?

Ultrasounds use sound waves instead of radiation, which makes them much safer for you and your baby. Healthcare providers have been using ultrasounds for over 30 years. It’s a viable alternative to X-rays, which use radiation that could harm you and your fetus.

Remember that registered nurses, doctors, and trained sonographers are the only ones that should administer an ultrasound. Those without the proper medical training may provide incorrect information. Always be sure to go through a professional when receiving a P.O.C.U.S. assessment. 

What Happens Next?

At our centre, we offer free medical-grade pregnancy tests. Once your pregnancy test is confirmed to be positive, our  registered nurses will assess the pregnancy through our P.O.C.U.S. service. 

After the assessment is complete, we’ll review the different options and provide  resources to help you make an informed  choice. Each pregnant woman will receive information regarding parenting, adoption, and abortion.

Our team understands how difficult and life-altering all choices can be, which is why we offer a lot of information to help you make a clear and informed choice.

Contact us at our Hamilton or Halton clinic for more information on our point-of-care ultrasound service and pregnancy options. Our registered nurses strive to provide every patient with the utmost care, respect, and dignity when discussing their pregnancy, no matter what choice is made. 

Atwell Info

Atwell Info

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