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All The Pregnancy Scans You NEED To Take

Pregnancy checkups, screening, scans and tests are very important during your pregnancy period. An ultrasound scanning time is the time when a would be mother can see her baby before birth and that is a mesmerizing feeling in a woman’s life as well as for her family members. A woman has to go through a lot of scans and tests. Before going for such screening, a woman must have some knowledge about it. So, today in our blog we are going to discuss various scans and tests done during pregnancy.

What is an ultrasound scan??

An ultrasound scan during pregnancy is a prenatal that shows inside picture of the womb. It uses sound waves to show the picture of the baby. These waves bounce of your baby as echoes and then these echoes turned into image that show clear picture of baby’s position and movements. The ultrasound images shows in three colours: White, Black, and Grey. The hard part, Such as bones appear to be white. The Soft tissues appear grey. And the fluid like amniotic fluid appears Black.

Are Ultrasound waves harmful for baby??

In India, 2 or 3 decades back there were very less scans done during pregnancy or even none of the scan done during whole pregnancy period. The people of that decade always think that ultrasound is something that can’t be done more than once during pregnancy as sonographic waves may affect the baby. But that’s not all true. Ultrasound rays are not harmful. They are completely safe for mother as well as baby.

Various scans are done during pregnancy. Here is a list of the scans:

1) Early Pregnancy Scan

• This is the first scan done, that shows the first glimpse of your baby. The first scan of your baby is very exciting moment. In this scan, doctors just check     gestational sac and heartbeat of the baby. This scan can be done from outside or transvaginally. Sometimes heartbeat of baby is not detected from     outside, so done from inside.

When needs to be done:
         After 6 weeks, Before 9 weeks

Why it is done:
       1)  To check heartbeat of the baby
       2)  To detect ectopic pregnancy
       3)  To find your due date according to your LMP (Last menstrual period)
       4) To find whether you are pregnant with single, twins or more babies
       5)  Gives the current gestational age

You need to full your bladder before going for the scan if not done internally.

2) NT Scan

• Nuchal Translucency Scan is the second scan done during pregnancy. Nuchal translucency is the normal fluid space behind the neck of the fetus.
• In this scan one can able to see structure of the baby.
• This scan is useful in finding Down’s syndrome in baby.

When it is done:
        Between 11 to 13 weeks.

Why it is done:

        Check following things in baby

       1) To check proper structure of the baby
       2) To find down’s syndrome in the baby
       3) To find chromosomal abnormalities in the baby
       4) To confirm exact due date
       5) To find baby’s heart rate (beats PER MINUTE)
       6) To find placenta position: Anterior or Posterior
       7) To find whether nasal bone is present or not
       8) Check fetal anatomy in detail. Eg. Head: Normal, Neck: Normal, Spine: normal, Face: Normal, Heart: Normal, Face: normal

        Check following things in mother

       1) Cervix measurement
       2) Right uterine
       3) Left Uterine

• The result of this scan gives you the risk estimate o the fetus.
• All the abnormalities cannot be find by the scan as some abnormalities comes with increase in gestational age.
• You need not to full your bladder before going for the scan. Partial fluid is OK.

3) Anomaly Scan

• This is the most important scan done during pregnancy period, mid-pregnancy scan. This scan takes a close look of your womb and the baby and in this scan doctor check heart and brain of the baby. Most of the women feels nervous before going for scan because this scan helps finds out the anomaly in the fetus if any and next step will be taken accordingly.

• When it is done:
      Between 18-20 weeks, Must be done before 20th week

• Why it is done:
       This scan is done to check proper length and measurements of fetus body parts including brain and Heart. Doctor measure each and everything to      check if there is any anomaly or not.

        Check following things in baby

        1) Cardiac Activity : It means fetal heart rate.
        2) Fetal Movements: Present or absent
        3) Presentation: Breech or Cephalic
        4) Placenta Position: Anterior, Posterior, Fundal
        5) Umbilical cord: no of vessel cord
        6) Amniotic fluid amount: Normal or less

        Check following things in mother

         1) Right Uterine
         2) Left Uterine
         3) Cervix measurement: Length of cervix , Funnelling

• The Scan detects structural defects or markers for chromosomal abnormalities.
• All the abnormalities cannot be excluded by Ultrasound scan. The pickup abnormality rate depends upon gestational age of fetus, position of fetus, tissue    penetration of sound waves, machine resolution and patient body habitues.
• You need not to full your bladder before going for the scan. Partial fluid is OK.

4) Growth Scan

• This is the last scan done if there are no complications.
• This scan is done to check that how well the baby is growing.

When needs to be done:
     Between 30-32 weeks

5) You will get another growth scan and color Doppler Scan

When it is done:
      It is done closer to your due date, between 36 and 40 weeks.

Why it is done:

1) To check the position of umbilical cord
2) To measure the amount of amniotic fluid
3) To check the placental position and maturity
4) To know your baby's position and weight
5) To check your baby's well being and circulation
6) To assess how a previous Cesarean scar appears

6) Additional scans

When it is done:
First Trimester – If fetal heart rate cannot be found in early. Usually done in 9th or 10th week.
Third Trimester—If baby is not moving well, If baby is breech, oblique or transverse position, If carrying twins, If umbilical cord was seen on baby’s neck in earlier scan, if amniotic fluid is not normal.

Mandatory scans are only four scans i.e. early pregnancy scan, NT scan, Anomaly scan and growth scan, in case of normal pregnancy without any complications. The other scans are done by observing the complications with pregnancy. There is no 'maximum' number of scans that can be performed in a pregnancy. The requirement of the scan should be decided based on the clinical scenario.

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