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Fetal Growth Scan
As the delivery date nears and the pregnancy progresses towards the last trimester, you may be excited and anxious to know how your soon-to-be-born little one is doing inside the womb. Your baby is also changing rapidly and getting ready for birth. The doctor may advice a fetal growth scan at this point that will give the parents and their healthcare providers a glimpse into how the baby is growing.
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What is a Growth Scan?
A growth scan in pregnancy, also called the third trimester scan, is done in the last trimester to check the development and well-being of the baby. The ultrasound scan that produces a 2-D, black and white image of the baby is also done to determine the amount of amniotic fluid in the womb and position of the placenta. It can be done once or many times (as per the requirement). The first foetal growth scan is suggested between 28 weeks and 32 weeks of pregnancy to determine the foetal wellbeing.
The second growth scan and colour Doppler studies are done closer to the due date, between 36 and 40 weeks.
When is the growth scan done?
The growth scan is done in the last trimester of pregnancy, anytime between 28 and 40 weeks of gestation. Your doctor may offer two scans —
First one is at around 28–32 weeks to ensure the normal growth of the baby.
The second one may be done closer to the due date along with colour Doppler studies, between 36–40 weeks to examine the baby’s position and decide on the type of delivery.
Why get a Growth Scan?
A Growth Scan is important to confirm the normal development of the foetus inside the womb.
To make it simpler, a growth scan is used to:
- Check if the baby is healthy by monitoring the baby’s movement, breathing, and stretching
- Learn the position and weight of the baby
- Determine the amount of amniotic fluid present
- Check the position and maturity of the placenta
- Check the position of the umbilical cord
- Check the circulation
- Learn how a previous caesarean scar looks
- Monitor a twin pregnancy
How is growth scan done?
A sonographer asks the patient to lie on a couch, uncovers the abdomen and applies gel on it. Then he/she passes a handheld probe over the skin of the abdomen to examine the baby’s body. The gel is applied to make sure that there is good contact between the probe and the skin. As the probe moves, a black and white 2-D image of the baby will appear on the ultrasound screen.
With the help of the image on the screen, the doctor checks how the baby is doing by checking movement, breathing, etc, and rates the development on a total score of 10 (modified Mannings score). A high number indicates that the baby is doing well whereas a lower score may suggest that the baby is not getting enough oxygen from the placenta.
The doctor also checks the circumference of the baby’s head (HC) and abdomen (AC) to check if the baby is growing well inside the womb. The scan also identifies gestational diabetes. If the amniotic fluid is more than it should be, it is a sign that the mother may have gestational diabetes.
To find out more about how the baby is doing, the sonographer may perform a Doppler scan to see how well the placenta is functioning. This is done by measuring the flow of blood between the placenta and the baby.
What does the growth scan report show?
The growth scan report during pregnancy is an important tool to find out how well your little one is developing in the womb and to reassure parents about the baby’s well-being.
What the scan reveals—
Movement, breathing and stretching of the baby is as desired.
Baby’s size and weight: If the baby is too big, it could be an indication that the mother has gestational diabetes. If the baby is too small it could be because of less oxygen flow or lack of nutrients through the placenta to the baby. Your doctor will also measure head circumference, abdomen and bones to arrive at the baby’s weight.
Blood and nutrient flow: The growth scan checks for normal blood flow to the umbilical cord and placenta which will ensure oxygen and nutrients supply to the baby is in the normal ranges.
The volume of amniotic fluid is enough for the baby to be comfortable inside the womb.
Position of the placenta: It should not be too high or too low.
Position of the foetus: This is important to determine the type of delivery. The baby should be in a head-down position for normal delivery. The scan will check if the baby is in a breech (head up position). Then your Gynaecologist may suggest a rotation manoeuvre or Caesarean section delivery.
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Our Obstetric services include Antenatal care (before birth), Intrapartum care (during labour and delivery), and Postnatal care (after birth).
Our team of doctors do their best to ensure the good health of mother and child. They provide assistance with all tests/procedures.
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