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All You Should Know About Fetal Viability Scan

December 7, 2023

It all starts with a menstrual missed period. It leads to a home pregnancy test and a positive result. Congratulations, you are pregnant.

But, it gets confirmed only once you go to your Ob/Gyn and take a test. This scan is called the Fetal Viability scan and it’s only once your positive pregnancy is conformed by this test, will you actually be pregnant. This test is usually performed between the 7th and 12th week of pregnancy.

Book an online appointment with Dr. Saroja Mood for Pregnancy scans.

Fetal Viability Scan: What Does It Check?

The first two months of pregnancy are critical. These months help your Ob/Gyn understand a lot of things to determine if the pregnancy is normal and progressing well. To do so, there is a scan called the fetal viability scan, also known as the date scan, which is mostly an abdominal scan. However, if your doctor is unable to take a good look at the fetus, because it’s a bit too early or the fetus is too small, then you might be asked to go for the vaginal version. We’ll talk about the method later.

Your Ob/Gyn would ask for a Fetal Viability scan to check for the following things:

  1. The gestational age of the fetus. This helps draw out a due date.
  2. The heartbeat of the fetus. There are two things that this helps understand. One, if there are multiple babies.Two, if the fetus’ heartbeat is strong and normal.
  3. Checking the placenta. If there is a problem with it, for example, placenta previa, this test will detect it and help your Ob/Gyn plan accordingly.
  4. The presence of any anomaly, like that of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilised egg attaches itself in the fallopian tube or outside the uterus

Viable Or Non-Viable?

Because this test is called a Fetal Viability Scan, one of the major things that your Ob/Gyn will tell you is whether your pregnancy is ‘viable’. In simple terms, it will tell you whether your pregnancy will sustain. If your pregnancy is progressing normally and the viability test doesn’t bring up any form of concern, then you are most likely to have a viable pregnancy.

On the other hand, if there is a concern that helps the doctor determine that the pregnancy will not sustain, then your pregnancy will be declared as non-viable and your doctor will discuss the options with you. Some of the reasons why a pregnancy becomes non-viable are:

  • Absence of a heartbeat
  • Cases in which a fertilised egg with minimal chances of survival implants itself in the womb, or a healthy fertilised egg fails to implant.
  • An ectopic pregnancy.
  • A pregnancy that has stopped progressing.
  • Any defect in the fetus that can either cause very premature birth or bring down the chances of survival

Even though these points might sound scary, that’s what the Fetal Viability Scan is important. It helps your Ob/Gyn put all these concerns to rest. If any of these concerns are found during the investigation, then your doctor will let you know. If all is well, then it’s great news for you.

How Is The Test Performed?

This scan is usually performed abdominally. You will be asked to drink a lot of water so that the uterus is clearly visible during the test. A little gel will be applied to your abdomen for the ultrasound. It helps if you wear loose clothes. The test should not take more than 30 minutes.

Sometimes, however, if your uterus is not visible, or it’s too early in the pregnancy for an  abdominal ultrasound to detect the fetus, then your doctor might recommend a vaginal test. This is a simple test in which a sterilised probe will be inserted into your vagina to take a closer look at the fetus.

Is It Necessary?

In simple language: yes, it is. In order for your Ob/Gyn to recommend further steps, he or she needs to know how well the pregnancy is progressing. The due date estimation that’s a part of the results will also help you plan things better.

At the Birthplace, we take utmost care to ensure that any test you go through is comfortable and necessary. Our doctors understand that recommending too many tests that are not needed in the first place can make you more nervous, therefore, they only prescribe tests and treatments that are needed. This test is important, therefore it’s best to take your doctor’s advice.

Want to consult the best gynecologists in India? Please find the links below.

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