Baby Ultrasound - What a foetal anomaly scan tells you about your baby?
Most mothers to be cannot wait to get their very first baby ultrasound - after all it proves there's really somebody in there and seeing your baby for the first time is often a very emotional, even overwhelming experience!
Your first baby ultrasound scan will normally happen around weeks 10 to 12 of pregnancy although this varies greatly depending on factors such as maternal age, health, where you live and your previous pregnancy history. You may receive an earlier scan if there has been some confusion over your dates so that your health carers can accurately guage your baby's age.
Throughout your pregnancy you will receive regular scans with perhaps the most important one happening at between weeks 18-20 of pregnancy. This is known as the foetal anomaly scan and is a very detailed scan which checks the brain, heart chambers, kidneys, liver, spine, the length of the baby's arms and legs, the circumference of the baby's head and the development and position of the placenta. By the time you have this scan it will be possible to find out the sex of your baby although not all health authorities will reveal the sex.
The foetal anomaly scan can also identify growth problems and possible markers for chromosomal abnormalities. If the sonographer thinks there may be a problem you will be asked to return for more detailed scans.
Pregnancy ultrasounds are painless and safe. When you arrive for your appointment you will be asked to lower your waistband and the sonographer will place some gel on your abdomen. She will the place the scanner on your tummy and move it around. Within moments you will see a grainy image of your baby appear on a small computer screen. The sonographer will look carefully at the baby to ensure that he or she is developing normally and that he or she is the right size for their estimated gestational development. They will also check that the placenta is working and developing properly.
In most cases you will be given a small picture of the developing baby to take home with you. If you find it difficult to see the baby you should ask the sonographer or your midwife to point out all the various parts of the baby.
There are several different types of ultrasound. The one most mothers to be are familiar with is the standard 2D ultrasound image. This is fairly difficult to see unless the baby is well developed and you get a very clear view of him or her in the womb.
Nowadays, with new developments in technology, it is also possible to have 3D/4D ultrasound scans. These show a very clear 3 dimensional (3D) view of the developing baby and look more like a sepia photograph than the 2D standard images we are more used to seeing. 4D scans are the same as 3D but they show the baby moving as well so you can watch your baby wriggling about on a computer screen.
Since 3D/4D scanning equipment is very expensive, very few general hospitals offer the facility. Therefore, women who want a 3D/4D scan usually have to pay for one to be performed privately. Although expensive, most mothers agree they give a fascinating view of their baby and few regret the decision to pay for the scan.
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Share Your Baby Ultrasound Images
If you have a 2d or 3D image of your developing baby and you would like to share it on BreastfeedingMums we'd be thrilled! Just email us a copy of your image and we'll add it to our gallery of baby ultrasound images as soon as possible. If you run a blog, website or business we are happy to provide a link from your image in return for your generosity :)
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