Fetal Growth Scan
What does the ultrasound show?
An ultrasound examination in the third trimester is useful for several reasons.
It enables us to see:
- That the fetal heart is beating
- The fetal presentation and position
- The fetal size and growth
- The volume of amniotic fluid around the baby
- The position of the placenta
- The blood flow to the baby through the umbilical cord
- The activity and movements of the baby are normal
- The length of the cervix
- The position of any uterine fibroids
Obstetricians and midwives frequently request an ultrasound examination to check for fetal growth and wellbeing.
This is often worthwhile
- if you think that the baby has stopped moving
- if you suspect the baby is small for dates or large for dates
- suspected breech presentation
- unexpected bleeding or contractions
- multiple pregnancy or
- maternal disease like diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease
What does it involve?
The scan is performed by placing an ultrasound transducer on your abdomen.
It is moved around with the aid of some slippery gel.
Your bladder does not need to be full. It is better if it is just in between full and empty.
The whole scan takes around 20-30 minutes.
Occasionally at the end of the examination, we need to do a trans-vaginal scan with an empty bladder, to get a better look at the lower edge of the placenta and its relationship to the cervix.
This is a transvaginal scan of the cervix. The fetal head is on the left, up against the cervix. The cervix is long and closed.
Sometimes we need the trans-vaginal approach to measure the length of the cervix accurately.
What if something is wrong?
Most of the time the scan is reassuring. We can show you that the baby is well grown and has normal amniotic fluid volume and placental function.
If we are concerned about the findings of this scan, we will explain it to you and contact your doctor.
In this practice, the doctors are all fully qualified obstetricians, so they are in a good position to interpret the findings and discuss it with your caregivers.
If any problems are suspected you will have the opportunity to discuss them and their implications.
Occasionally we are so concerned that we suggest you go straight to the Delivery Suite.
Can we see the baby in 3d or 4d?
Certainly. We usually manage to get gorgeous baby photos for you.
However, the picture is affected a lot by the position of the baby.
If it is head down and facing your spine, we only get to see its back. Sometimes it takes persistence and patience to see the baby when it is facing up.
Maternal skin thickness and the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby’s face, can also affect the quality of the image.
The best time to get the baby in a good position is from about 24 weeks gestation to 34 weeks gestation. We are happy to do 3d and 4d scanning for you, but we also believe that it is also important that we find out if there are any problems with the baby first.
We always do a comprehensive assessment of the baby’s growth and wellbeing at the same examination.