Ultrasound Abbreviations And Other Things You Should Know

ultrasound abbreviations
Skitterphoto / Pixabay

So, you’ve just had your first ultrasound and you are excited! Depending on how far along you are there is now a lot of data about your newly developing family member… but how to read it? In this article we are going to discuss ultrasound abbreviations so that you can know at a glance exactly what all those esoteric abbreviations are saying about your new baby. Are you ready? Let’s discuss a little bit about ultrasound and its associated abbreviations.

A brief history on ultrasound

Ultrasound has an interesting history. The lion’s share of the credit for the concept goes to Lazzaro Spallanzani, an Italian professor, physiologist, and a priest, no less. His contribution? Well, it has to do with bats. In 1794 he determined through various experiments that bats were navigating using sound rather than sight, a process known as echolocation. By emitting sounds at a high frequency the bats could gather data about their environment based on how the sound waves bounced back in reply. This was the first concrete indication that sounds beyond the range of human hearing existed and it certainly opened up some new doors of study.

Flash forward to 1942 and a Neurologist named Karl Duzzik began experimenting with the use of ultrasonic waves directed at the skull to diagnose brain tumors. This led to ‘pulsed doppler technology in 1966 and by 1986 the first 3 dimensional image of a fetus was taken. Quite a long way from deducing how bats navigate but we couldn’t have done it without Spallanzani!

Is ultrasound safe?

Considered non-invasive, ultrasound has been performed on millions of women to no ill effect. There is no radiation involved such as you would have with an x-ray, you are only just bouncing sound to see what data is returned. Similar technology is employed by ships and submarines with sonar, which can identify submerged vessels and even fish in the depths below through a similar application of Spallanzani’s echolocation principle from bats.

Ultrasound abbreviations and terminology

hh pi ultrasound
Free-Photos / Pixabay

Now we get to the nitty-gritty part of the article. The terminology from the ultrasound can seem complex but it’s not so difficult with a little help . Now, without further ado, let’s list the most common abbreviations used with ultrasound. Feel free to copy these and make yourself a cheat sheet of this ultrasound abbreviation terminology for yourself!


    • AC – This is for abdominal circumference. This is particularly useful during the later stages of pregnancy, as this ultrasound data can be used to determine the length and the weight of the baby.
    • AF – This is just an abbreviation for amniotic fluid, one of the few fetal ultrasound measurement abbreviations that you will likely not need to worry about as long as everything is normal.
  • CRL – Generally taken between the 7th and the 13th week, the CRL is short for the ‘crown rump length’, which is the distance between the top of the head and the bottom of the buttocks. From this value you medical professional can determine the baby’s age and due date.
  • DPD – This abbreviation actually designates the biparietal diameter, which sounds complex but is actually just the measurement from one side of the head to the other.
  • LMP – Short for ‘last menstrual period’ of the expectant mother.

” This is an abbreviation for the ‘estimated date of delivering’,”

  • EDD – This is an abbreviation for the ‘estimated date of delivering’, so this is one that you’ll definitely be interested in.
  • EFW- This is the estimated fetal weight, or in layman’s terms, the current weight of your developing baby.
  • FHM – This is short for ‘fetal heart movement’, which is simply a measurement of the current heart activity of the baby in order to ensure that everything is normal.
  • FG This is another one that you will likely be paying attention to. FG is the abbreviation associated with the gender of your baby.
  • FL – Just a measurement of the femur bone, FL is short for ‘femur length’.
  • HD – This Ultrasound abbreviation is for the head circumference of your baby.

What does DR mean on an ultrasound?

DR is not a value that you will need to worry about. It is short for ‘dynamic range’ and is just a setting on the ultrasound device.

What is a siup pregnancy?

This is another term that you might find mentioned. This is simply in regards to the number of children that you are having. Whether it is a single birth or perhaps twins (or quintuplets if that happens to run in your family!)

Other terms

You may find other abbreviations such as ‘HH’ or ‘PI’ in regards to your pregnancy. For the most part, the terms above are the ones that you will want to focus on. They will help you to discern, at a glance, the length and weight of your baby, due date, gender, and pretty much the relevant information that you are wanting to know most. This is not a complete list as many of the terms are simply not going to be of much use to you unless you are a trained medical professional, so we’ve tried to stick to the most relevant in order to make this article the most useful to you that it can be.

ultrasound terminology abbreviations
MedicalPrudens / Pixabay

In conclusion

In this article we’ve reviewed some of the most useful terms in regards to your upcoming ultrasound. We’ve discussed a bit about it’s history and how it all started with some conjecture and experimentation into the navigation of bats, spiraling into medical and military applications and finally ending up in hospitals and everyday use. We hope that this information will be of some use to you but if you should see any abbreviations on the resultant paperwork that comes with your ultrasound that you do not recognize, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or a nurse. They’ll be happy to help. Congratulations on your new family-member-to-be and we wish you the best!


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