Ultrasound baby scan
An ultrasound scan is a way of seeing your baby’s first picture in the womb using sound waves. Ultrasound Scans can check to establish the date when the baby is due, determine whether you are having more than one baby, check some possible difficulties during pregnancy, and also we can check the gender of the baby. All pregnant women will have an ultrasound baby scan during their pregnancy. This simple scan and it is very safe for both baby and mother.
How does an ultrasound baby scan work?
An ultrasound baby scan utilizes sound waves to show your baby on a computer screen.
Firstly, You lie on the examining table by your scanner. The Ultrasound technician will apply some gel over your tummy and then rotate an ultrasound probe around the area where the gel is. With this process, you can see your baby’s womb activity on the computer screen.
Which scans are offered in pregnancy?
So usually, 2 scans are offered on the NHS during the 9 months of pregnancy. The scans of course depend on what the doctor suggests according to your health conditions. Also, these scans vary from each person to person depending on the health of a mother. But for a normal pregnancy, you get a minimum of 2 scans which are done at specific weeks in the pregnancy, and there are specific reasons to perform these scans. Let’s see these scans which are offered on the NHS in detail.
1) Nuchal Translucency Scan (11-14 weeks):
Which is also called a dating Scan / NT scan or Nuchal Translucency Scan. This scan is done between 11-14 weeks of pregnancy. It can not be done earlier or later than this time. This scan is done trans-abdominally which means the ultrasound probe is kept on your abdominal wall that is your tummy and the scan is done. You have to keep your bladder full where you have to hold your urine before going to this scan.
NT scan is a screening test, it is the non-invasive and easiest way to detect the risk of chromosomal abnormalities. Screening means it gives the idea about high risks. And non-invasive means there will be no cut or incision in your skin to detect the risk.
Benefits of NT scan:
- To detect the risk of chromosomal abnormalities: In this scan, NT is measured. Nuchal Translucency is the collection of fluid under the skin at the back of your baby’s neck. Now the question is what if my NT results shows high risk. Then the doctor can suggest having an NIPT blood test done.
- To see cardiovascular development: Whether the heart of your baby has four chambers and are the valves working properly, is the blood flow smooth inside or not. All this cardiac assessment is very important and done during this scan because heart defects are majorly associated with chromosomal abnormalities. So NT scans rule out the major heart defects.
- To know the number of foetuses: the NT scan will give you information about the number of foetuses whether single or multiple foetuses are present inside. Also about the chorionicity whether there foetuses
2) Anomaly scan (18-22 weeks)
If you get a change doing only one scan in the whole pregnancy then you should go an anomaly scan. No doubt each and every scan in pregnancy is equally important but this anomaly scan will give you detailed information about every organ of your baby as well as birth defects. Based on this scan which you can decide a very important decision in your life , whether to terminate this baby or continue it further.
The anomaly scan is also called a mid-pregnancy scan, 20-week scan, anatomy scan, Morphology scan, Level 2 ultrasound, and also TIFFA scan.
Majorly it is done after 18 weeks and before 20 weeks. Now the reason behind the particular timing is before 18 weeks the organs of the baby are not well form. The anomaly scan is done trans-abdominally means the ultrasound probe is kept on your abdominal and gel is applied which is completely safe and this is used to get more clear images of your baby. Normally this scan takes around 25-30 min to check all the things.
3) Growth scan (32-34 weeks):
This scan if offered in pregnancy if there is a concern in growth which sometimes can be booked after the anomaly scan or during your routine midwife visit.
A growth scan is usually done around 32-34 weeks in normal pregnancy that is around the 8th month. This scan can be done once or more than one time if required and also it can be done after 28 weeks if necessary in special cases. This scan is also done trans-abdominally means the ultrasound probe is kept over the abdomen of the mother and the scan is performed. This scan takes around 30-40 minutes. As the color doppler is also performed during the growth scan. No need to hold the urine before the scan.
List of things checked in the growth scan:
- Baby’s wellbeing
- position of baby
- foetal weight
- position of placenta & maturity
- Amniotic fluid amount
- Position of umbilical cord, etc.
Above mentioned scans are the important scans which all women will undergo during pregnancy.
We can offer extra scans at Bump2baby scans.
We offer parents-to-be a service to self elected scans. Usually, our scans are performed for reassurance purposes. However, if anything unusual is observed, we will refer you directly to your chosen hospital, midwife or GP for further investigation. Usually our early pregnancy scan is very popular as it is self elected. Please see below what we include.
1) Early pregnancy scans (from 7 weeks ):
An Early Pregnancy Scan can be done from 7 weeks of pregnancy. You will need a full bladder this scan.
The following will be confirmed by this scan:
- To know the location of the pregnancy.
- To know the number of foetuses: whether there are single, double, or multiple foetuses inside.
- To know the viability of the pregnancy: This means we check for the baby’s heartbeat.
- Dating: Many times if the patient has PCOD/PCOS, we can not depend on LMP to calculate the weeks of pregnancy. As the cycles are irregular and sometimes very long too. At this time, this scan helps to know the exact week of pregnancy, Gestational age, and expected delivery date.