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Ultrasound training: introduction

Use and application of ultrasound in obstetrics and gynaecology is now an integral part of clinical practice.

You’ll need to use ultrasound in your daily practice, for example when assessing fetal presentation in preterm labour, or for placental localisation in a woman with an antepartum haemorrhage.

Ultrasound is a practical skill that needs to be learned as part of your specialist training in O&G. The RCOG has an ultrasound guidance document on RCOG eLearning for ultrasound training.

Practical experience

There's no standard model for the provision of practical ultrasound training, so you’ll need to be proactive and conscientious in order to gain the training you need. For more information about how practical training is delivered, please read the information about delivery of ultrasound training.

Practical ultrasound training is often delivered altruistically by other departments, and you should approach this training professionally and in particular acknowledge the skills that sonographers possess.

You should approach your local Ultrasound Educational Supervisor when you first arrive in your unit to inform them of your ultrasound training requirements. If you’re having difficulty accessing your training, you should discuss this with your local Ultrasound Educational Supervisor. If you continue to have problems, you should approach your Deanery Ultrasound Coordinator. The Deanery Ultrasound Coordinator will organise the delivery of the mandatory and optional ultrasound skills within your deanery.

The majority of training is delivered in dedicated ultrasound sessions. However, you should also make the most of the opportunities available and learn from colleagues who can scan competently while on call or in clinics:

For the mandatory early pregnancy ultrasound skills, you could gain ultrasound training while working in the gynaecology outpatient department or early pregnancy unit.

For the mandatory obstetric ultrasound skills, you could gain ultrasound training on the labour ward, maternity day assessment unit or antenatal clinic.

Optional (Intermediate) ultrasound scan skills (previously Intermediate US modules)

There are some intermediate ultrasound skills that are optional but are mandatory for certain ATSMs and subspecialty training programmes as outlined in the ultrasound guidance document on RCOG eLearning.

These skills were previously contained in the intermediate Ultrasound modules. Trainees should expect to take one year of one to two sessions per week to achieve these skills. For more details, please read the information on ultrasound training in advanced and subspecialty training.

Accessing optional ultrasound skills

There is less demand for optional ultrasound skills, so this training isn’t delivered in all units.

Each Deanery has its own selection process for optional ultrasound skills. As soon as you decide that you wish to undertake intermediate ultrasound training, ask your local Ultrasound Educational Supervisor or Deanery Ultrasound Coordinator how to achieve these skills. You may need to apply up to 1 year in advance of when you want to start training in these skills, as your application will need to be considered at the time of placement allocation.

Joint statement on ultrasound training

In July 2010, the RCOG introduced its ultrasound training programme.

At the time of the launch the RCOG issued a joint statement with the Society and College of Radiographers (SCOR), endorsed by the British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS), explaining why the training programme was being introduced and how training would be delivered.

Find out more

If you need any help or advice, please email the Trainees' Coordinator at or call +44 20 7772 6348.