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No hard and fast rules on number of pregnancy scans.

Summary: DUBAI -- As part of the antenatal care, ultrasound scans of pregnancy are done. There is no hard and fast rule as to the number of scans a woman should undergo during her pregnancy, says Dr Juned Qadir, Radiologist, Zulekha Hospital, Dubai.

DUBAI -- As part of the antenatal care, ultrasound scans of pregnancy are done. There is no hard and fast rule as to the number of scans a woman should undergo during her pregnancy, says Dr Juned Qadir, Radiologist, Zulekha Hospital, Dubai.

The first scan will be done at your first antenatal visit. It is to check if the site of the pregnancy is within the cavity of the uterus, how many weeks pregnant you are, that there are not twins and that the baby is doing well.

Usually the scan will be through your abdomen. Full bladder is often required for the procedure when abdominal scanning is done in early pregnancy. The scan will involve you lying down on a couch, and a trained scan operator putting scan gel and then the scan head onto your abdomen. This will give images on the screen which allow measurements of the baby and give moving pictures. Sometimes the scan will be done through the front passage (vagina) but the Ultrasonographer/ Radiologist will talk to you about this if it is necessary.

The gestational sac can be visualised as early as four and a half weeks of pregnancy. The embryo can be observed and measured by about five and a half weeks. A visible heartbeat could be seen and detectable by pulsed Doppler ultrasound by about six weeks and is usually clear by seven weeks. If this is observed, the probability of a continued pregnancy is more than 95 per cent. Missed abortions and blighted ovum will usually give typical pictures of a deformed gestational sac and absence of fetal poles or heart beat.

A second scan, done at about 20 weeks, is to check that your baby is normal. This scan is performed for congenital malformations when the fetus is large enough for an accurate survey of the anatomy. Multiple pregnancies can be firmly diagnosed and dates and growth can also be assessed.

If you really do not wish to know if the baby has an abnormality, you may not need this scan. About half of the major abnormalities which cause serious difficulties will be seen on a scan and half will be unseen. This means that even if your scan is normal, there is a small chance that your baby may still have a problem. The position of the baby in the uterus has a great deal to do with how well one sees certain organs such as the heart, face and spine. Sometimes a repeat examination has to be scheduled the following day, in the hope the baby has moved.

Further scans may sometimes be done at around 32 weeks or later to evaluate fetal size (to estimate the fetal weight) and assess fetal growth or to follow up on possible abnormalities seen at an earlier scan. --news@khaleejtimes.com

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Article Type:Medical condition overview
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Aug 10, 2012
Words:527
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