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The Growth Scan Decoded For You

December 8, 2023

This is the first question any mother-to-be would have while meeting with her Ob/Gyn. During the course of the pregnancy, doctor visits become very common and as the pregnancy progresses, these visits would, in all likelihood, increase too. As your baby grows, there are several aspects your doctor would need to understand and factor.

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

Are you healthy? Are all of your health factors in place and normal?

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Is the pregnancy progressing fine?

How is your baby doing? Is his or her growth normal?

To answer these questions, you will have to undergo a number of tests and scans, so your doctor can tick off everything and help you through a smooth and healthy pregnancy, right through to your delivery.

The answers to these questions will also help your doctor understand the next course of action to be taken. Would you be requiring more medication, is there a need for treatment? Do you need more rest or are you allowed to engage in your routine activities? These are important and therefore, each test that your doctor asks you to go for only means that they are necessary.

One of the most routine scans is what is known as the Growth Scan.

As you would have guessed correctly, this scan measures how well your baby is growing.

What Does This Scan Look For?

  • First up, obviously, a closer look at your baby. We’ll discuss in detail what aspects of growth this scan will focus on.
  • The size of the placenta.
  • The blood flow to the umbilical cord.
  • The amount of amniotic fluid.

When Does This Scan Happen?

This is generally a third-trimester scan, but your doctor might order more than one. In case that happens, don’t be worried. There are some reasons why you would need more growth scans than usual.

  • If you have had a previous pregnancy that had complications.
  • If you have had a previous C-Section, then your doctor would want to look at the scar tissue. This is important to understand and prepare for the type of delivery.
  • If there are multiple babies (twins, triplets, etc) more growth scans might be required to assess their growth.
  • If you have gestational conditions like diabetes.
  • If the size of your belly is smaller or larger than estimated.

Measurements That Are Taken During The Scan

There are a few things that are noted down before the scan begins. One of them is the gestational age of your baby. This figure will give average numbers that are then compared to understand whether your baby’s measurements are normal or not. Here are some of the key measurements that are taken during the scan:

  • Measurements of the head: There are two types of measurements of the head that are taken. One is across the head and the other is around it.
  • Abdomen: This scan will also measure the circumference of the abdomen of your baby.
  • Length of the femur: This scan will consider the growth of the femur bone by noting down its length.

These numbers are plotted on a graph and compared with the gestational age for the release of the results. The estimated fetal weight is calculated through the process.

Possible Outcomes

Let’s understand what these results could be.

  1. Normal: This is the best possible outcome, obviously. All parents-to-be would be eager to hear from the doctor that the baby is growing normally - his or her organs are developing normally, the estimated fetal weight is in range and everything’s good. That’s a sign of relief.
  2. Small for Gestational Age: Even though most babies who are smaller are born healthy, yet it could be of some concern. When the baby is smaller than the normal range, it could be because of a condition called fetal growth restriction. In this case, the doctor will order more growth scans to ascertain that everything is alright. You might be asked to go for further tests like amniocentesis, or umbilical doppler to check what’s causing the growth restriction.
  3. Big for gestational age: Again, most babies who are bigger than expected are born healthy, yet, considering the aberration, your doctor will closely monitor the pregnancy and might ask for further tests. If the baby continues being big right through the end of pregnancy, this could also result in a c-section.

Frequency Of Additional Growth Scans

Additional growth scans generally happen after a gap of two weeks to factor in the variations in the ultrasound scan.

How Is It Done?

Like most scans in your pregnancy, the growth scan will also be an ultrasound scan. Just like the other ultrasound scans, there will be some jelly applied to your abdomen and a hand-held probe will help bring up images of your uterus and your baby which would then be sent for the measurements and calculations.

we ensure that you are kept updated of every scan and test you will need so that you are not taken by surprise. As always, the moment we know, we will share the results with you to cut down on unnecessary anxiety that the scans could cause. We are here for you and your baby and we will make sure that your comfort and convenience are taken care of.

The PCPNDT Act prohibits the determination of the gender of the fetus. It is illegal and will not be performed.

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