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Ultrasound Scans During Pregnancy

Ultrasound Scans During Pregnancy – Care at 4th & 11th Week

An ultrasound scan is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the inside of your body. It is highly safe for pregnancy as sound waves have no side effects, unlike X-rays and CT, which use harmful radiation.

How Many Types of Ultrasound Scans Are There?

There are mainly two types of ultrasound scans during pregnancy. These are transvaginal and transabdominal ultrasound scans. A transducer is passed through the vagina to send sound waves and collect the reflections in a transvaginal ultrasound scan.

It is usually done in the early stages of pregnancy when the fetus is tiny. Experts say that about 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women get some form of morning sickness (nausea and sometimes vomiting).

Transabdominal ultrasound is commonly used, especially when the fetus is big enough to be visualized, and the transducer is passed over your abdomen.

There are a few specialized types of transabdominal ultrasound to get further details of a growing baby. One is 3-dimensional ultrasound which can detect facial and neural tube defects.

Doppler ultrasound is another type that can provide information on the baby’s blood flow. Fetal echocardiography can also be done to rule out any congenital heart problems.

What are the Uses of Fetal Ultrasound?

Ultrasound in pregnancy can provide much information regarding the uterus and the growing baby. It can confirm the baby’s location, whether inside or outside the uterus. If it is outside the uterus, it is called an ectopic pregnancy and is primarily nonviable.

Timely detection of ectopic pregnancy can help your doctor decide on the appropriate treatment at the right time to prevent complications. It also helps to identify the baby’s age and the presence of more than one fetus.

Ultrasound scans also assess the fetus’s and placenta’s growth. It can also be used to measure amniotic fluid levels and congenital disabilities. Then, just before delivery, it can show how the baby is lying inside the uterus and whether you can proceed with standard delivery.

Which Routine Scans are Recommended During Pregnancy?

There are usually three routine scans that are recommended in a normal pregnancy. These are dating scans, unchallenged translucency scans, and anomaly scans.

A dating scan is done between 6-10 weeks of pregnancy. As the name indicates, this helps identify the baby’s age and calculate the due date. It can also determine the number of babies in the uterus and the location of the fetus.

ultrasound in pregnancy

An unchallenged translucency scan, also popularly known as an NT scan, is done between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. It measures the fluid behind the baby’s neck and calculates the risk of Down syndrome, a common genetic disorder observed in pregnancies, especially in advanced maternal age.

A fetal anomaly scan is a detailed scan done between 18-20 weeks of pregnancy. This can evaluate the growth of the baby’s body organs, the position of the placenta, the baby’s heart rate, rhythm, and gender.

Your doctor can also advise for a third-trimester scan which is done between 34-36 weeks of pregnancy, to evaluate fetal growth and well-being, amniotic fluid volume, and to identify any fetal growth restriction or macrosomia (increased growth than expected) as well as the location of the placenta and lying position of the baby.

Besides this, 4 weeks of pregnancy scan and 11 weeks of pregnancy are also essential, and we will explain in detail about you and your baby at this stage.

You at 4 Weeks of Pregnancy

Significant developments occur inside a woman’s body during the fourth week of pregnancy. At this stage, the baby is only about the size of a poppy seed but growing rapidly.

During this stage, the fertilized egg implants into the lining of the uterus and begins to form the placenta and amniotic sac that will nourish and protect the baby throughout the pregnancy.

A missed period is one of the most common signs that a woman may be pregnant. It occurs because the body’s hormones are changing rapidly in preparation for sustaining the developing fetus.

Another common symptom at 4 weeks pregnant is frequent urination, as the uterus grows and presses against the bladder. Some women also experience nasal passages caused by the hormonal changes that are taking place.

The crucial hormone essential for sustaining the pregnancy is chorionic gonadotropin. This hormone is produced by the cells that form the placenta and is responsible for maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

At 4 weeks pregnant, the levels of this hormone are rapidly increasing, indicating a healthy pregnancy.

As fetal development progresses, the baby will continue to grow and change rapidly over the next several weeks. Therefore, early prenatal care is essential, so healthcare providers can monitor the baby’s development and address potential issues.

Overall, the fourth week of pregnancy is exciting as a newly fertilized egg begins its journey to becoming a fully-formed baby.

How big is your baby at 4 weeks pregnant?

At 4 weeks pregnant, your baby is still incredibly small and is just beginning to form. Your baby is about the size of a poppy seed! However, even though your baby is tiny, a lot is happening regarding development.

During week 4 of pregnancy, the embryo grows and develops within the uterus lining.

During this early stage, your baby’s neural tube begins to form, eventually becoming their brain and spinal cord. In addition, their tiny heart is starting to beat, and their circulatory system is beginning to form.

At this point in your pregnancy, your baby is surrounded by the amniotic fluid, which will protect and cushion them as they grow and develop. As your pregnancy progresses, the amount of amniotic fluid will also increase.

It’s important to remember that while your baby is small at this stage, every step in their development is crucial. Caring for yourself and your growing baby is so important during pregnancy. Eating a healthy diet, staying active, and attending regular prenatal appointments with your healthcare provider can all help to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

While it may be hard to imagine your poppy seed-sized baby growing and developing over the coming months, it will continue to change and grow daily. Your healthcare provider can give you more information about what to expect at each stage of your pregnancy, but for now, enjoy the wonder and amazement of growing a new life inside of you.

This week, the blood vessels that will eventually create the umbilical cord are developing and forming.

You, at 11 Weeks of Pregnancy

Congratulations! You are now 11 weeks pregnant, and your baby is rapidly growing and developing inside you. At this stage of your pregnancy, you may start noticing some common symptoms, such as increased fatigue, nausea, and frequent urination.

Your baby is now about the size of a lime, and all its major organs are fully formed. They have even started developing tiny tooth buds, and their fingers and toes are fully separated. Additionally, your little one is now busy practicing breathing movements, even though they are not yet taking in any air.

As your baby develops inside you, their skin gets thicker, and its organs become less visible. Their bones are also beginning to harden, and they are even developing primitive reflexes such as jerky movements.

At this stage in your pregnancy, you will likely have your first prenatal visit with your healthcare provider. They may recommend a dating scan, which can help to determine your due date and ensure the healthy development of your baby. You may also have a nuchal translucency scan to check for chromosomal abnormalities.

While it can be overwhelming, taking care of yourself during this exciting time is vital. Make sure to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest. Don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns.

Your journey through pregnancy is just beginning, and there’s so much more to come. So enjoy this particular time and take comfort in knowing that your body is doing a fantastic thing by growing a new life inside you.

Your Baby When You’re 11 Weeks Pregnant

Congratulations on reaching 11 weeks of pregnancy! At this stage, your little one has grown to about the size of a fig, measuring around 1.6 inches long and weighing about 0.3 ounces. They are now almost fully formed and are transitioning from the embryonic period to the fetal period.

11 weeks ultrasound

During this stage of pregnancy, it is typical to be offered an ultrasound scan as part of your care on the NHS.

Your baby’s reproductive organs have begun to form, and its tiny fingers and toes are now fully separated. They also have tooth buds in their gums, and their nasal passages start opening up. This is an exciting time in your baby’s development as they become even more human-like daily.

During this stage, your baby’s body produces red and white blood cells. It is also developing their lymphatic and circulatory systems. They are also beginning to practice breathing movements, even though they aren’t taking in any air yet.

Your baby’s skin is still translucent, and its organs are visible. However, their skin will thicken and become more opaque as they develop. Additionally, their bones are beginning to harden. They are even developing primitive reflexes such as jerky movements.

At 11 weeks pregnant, you may be wondering if it’s time for your first ultrasound. Your healthcare provider may recommend a dating ultrasound scan at this stage. It can help to determine your due date and ensure your baby’s growth is progressing as it should be. A transvaginal ultrasound may also be used to get a clearer picture of your baby’s development.

What to ask your doctor?

When it comes to being pregnant, you might have many questions as you navigate this exciting and sometimes overwhelming time.

One of the best resources you have at your disposal is your healthcare provider. It can be an obstetrician, midwife, or family doctor. But with so much to cover, it can be easy to forget what to ask your doctor. So here are some key questions to keep in mind:

What can I do to have a healthy pregnancy? 

Your healthcare provider can offer guidance on everything from nutrition and exercise to managing stress and getting enough rest.

What are the warning signs of complications? 

While not every ache or pain is cause for concern, knowing what to look out for is essential. It is because you can seek medical attention promptly if needed.

What tests and procedures should I expect? 

Depending on your circumstances, you may need everything from blood tests and ultrasounds to more specialized screenings.

What should I know about giving birth? 

There’s no way to predict labor and delivery, but your healthcare provider can walk you through what to expect and discuss pain management options.

How can I best care for my baby once they’re here? 

From breastfeeding and bottle-feeding to swaddling and safe sleep practices, there’s much to learn about caring for a newborn.

Remember, your healthcare provider supports you throughout your pregnancy journey. So be bold and ask questions and seek clarification. Check-in regularly to ensure you are both on the same page regarding your care.

An insight from Mamahood

It is observed that many pregnant ladies are reluctant to do ultrasound scans due to various myths existing in society regarding its safety. However, as discussed earlier, ultrasound during pregnancy is extremely safe. Even though it can increase the cost of antenatal care, it can provide much information.

This information can help you and your healthcare provider make timely decisions and provide appropriate management. For example, if the ultrasound reveals congenital disabilities and ectopic pregnancy at early stages, the pregnancy can be terminated safely without complications.

Also, many fetal problems can be treated in the uterus if identified early. Hence, routine scans should always be done whenever possible.

An insight from Mamahood

It is observed that many pregnant ladies are reluctant to do ultrasound scans due to various myths existing in society regarding its safety. As discussed earlier, ultrasound during pregnancy is extremely safe. Even though it can increase the cost of antenatal care, it can provide a lot of information.

This information can help you and your healthcare provider make timely decisions and provide appropriate management. For example, if the ultrasound reveals birth defects and ectopic pregnancy at early stages, the pregnancy can be terminated safely without complications.

Also, many fetal problems can be treated in the uterus if identified early. Hence, routine scans should always be done whenever possible.

Our References

Sources

Mamahood content is written by practicing physicians and healthcare professionals who rely on evidence-based resources, the latest research, and their experience to ensure our users get credible and updated information they can trust.

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