What Is A Fetal Growth Scan?

The growth scan, sometimes called the wellbeing scan, or positioning scan, occurs when the mother is between 23 and 40 weeks pregnant. It checks how well the baby is growing and the uterus (womb) position.

 The growth scan in pregnancy, checks for the baby’s position as this decides the mode of delivery. This is monitored by studying the head position of the baby. Apart from this, the doctor,

The head circumference, abdomen circumference, and thigh bone measurements allow the doctor to estimate the fetal weight.

All the measurements are plotted on a chart against the normal range to assess the fetal growth in your third-trimester scan. Because babies grow at different rates from week to week, a series of scans can be more helpful than just one.

Fetal Growth Scan In Chennai

Chennai Women’s Clinic at T. Nagar is the top choice for Fetal Growth scans in Chennai by many moms-to-be. Our scan center is a highly professionalized and well-equipped pregnancy scan center in Chennai that functions under the guidance of an award-winning Obstetrician and Gynecologist in the city, Dr Deepthi Jammi (Founder & Fetal Medical Consultant, Chennai Women’s Clinic).

Why Is A Fetal Growth Scan Needed In The Third Trimester?

The mother will be offered a growth and fetal wellbeing scan between 28 weeks and 32 weeks of pregnancy. This will show the doctor how the baby is growing. The most common reason for a growth scan in pregnancy is to check that the baby grows normally.

Growth Scan Procedure - What Happens During A Fetal Growth Scan?

During the fetal growth scan, various measurements are taken of the fetus. The measurements are plotted on a growth chart according to the number of weeks pregnant that the patient is at the time of the scan (gestational age). The main fetal measurements taken for a growth scan include:

An estimate of fetal weight (EFW) can be calculated by combining the above measurements. The EFW is plotted on a graph to help determine whether the fetus is average, larger or smaller in size for its gestational age. If the fetal weight estimate is below the bottom 10% line on the graph, it is considered to be small for gestational age (SGA). If the fetal weight is above the top 10 per cent line on the graph, it is considered to be significant for gestational age (LGA).

It is important to note that repeated ultrasound measurements of the same fetus can vary, and the estimated fetal weight may be incorrect by as much as 20 per cent.

Small For Gestational Age (SGA)

The baby has an average head size but a trim abdomen. Most fetuses that are shown to be small for gestational age are healthy but tend to grow in a lesser range from the beginning of pregnancy.

This can be when the baby is not getting a good food supply from the placenta. Some may require further ultrasound assessment to ensure that they grow as expected.

Other ultrasound tests can also be performed, such as checking the amount of amniotic fluid around the fetus and measuring the blood flow in the umbilical cord (umbilical artery Doppler).

Large For Gestational Age (LGA)

This is when the baby has an average head size but a prominent abdomen. They get a good food supply from the placenta.

And most fetuses that are shown to be large for gestational age on growth scan are well-nourished and healthy at birth.

In some cases, there is an underlying cause for the fetus to be large, such as increased amniotic fluid level, maternal diabetes, or a genetic syndrome.

What Are The Other Observations Done In A Growth Scan?

How Accurate Are Fetal Growth Scans?

Scans are usually accurate for assessing the baby’s size in the first half of the pregnancy. By the time the mother is in the later stages of pregnancy, scans remain accurate, as long as the baby is small or of average size.

The closer it gets to the due date, the bigger the baby is, the harder it will be to record measurements.

The baby’s head may be too low in the pelvis in late pregnancy to get a measurement. Even if the baby’s abdomen can be measured, it’s tough to consider other factors, such as how long the baby is

What Is Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR)?

Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is a term used to describe a fetus not growing adequately before birth. Or if the baby has a drop in the growth pattern during the later phases of your pregnancy.

It is also called intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), and the babies are called Growth restricted babies.

FGR may only become evident after two or more ultrasounds have been performed. Due to the variation of ultrasound measurements, a minimum of two weeks is required between fetal growth scans.

Other signs that may indicate FGR are umbilical cord blood flow changes and reduced amniotic fluid volume.

What If A Mother Complains Of Reduced Fetal Movement?

Stretches and flexes Moves his/her arms and legs frequently. Opens and closes his/her hands Makes breathing movements Has a good heart rate Assessing amniotic fluid levels and baby’s weight.

Ascertaining that the baby’s movements, such as stretches and flexes, are correct.

When Does A Mother Get Additional Scans In The Third Trimester?

When the mother complains of reduced fetal movements The baby is in the breech, oblique or transverse position.

To be precise, if the baby’s head isn’t down positioned when close to the delivery time.

The mother is carrying twins or more. The amount of amniotic fluid is more or less than it should be the baby feels smaller or larger than expected for the gestational age in the fetal growth scan. Shows a low-lying placenta.

How Is Fetal Growth Restriction Managed?

The doctor may recommend tests if a fetal growth scan shows some anomalies. Tests that offered include:

The pregnancy will be monitored closely with regular ultrasounds to measure:

Fetal heart rate monitoring by cardiotocograph (CTG) may be performed. If the fetal condition is considered poor and the continuation of the pregnancy is not considered safe, then delivery is considered.

What Causes Fetal Growth Restriction?

Some of the underlying causes of FGR include the following:

Frequently Asked Questions

A fetal growth scan takes around 15-20minutes depending on the baby’s position.

A fetal growth scan is not done on a routine basis to check for abnormalities. It is repeated if it shows abnormalities when scanned for the first time during your third trimester. A routine ultrasound to check for significant fetal abnormalities is performed between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Such babies may have a low birth weight. For such cases, the amniotic fluid level is checked, which might be less or normal. The doctor might recommend a Doppler scan to find out why the baby is small

There might be chances for a c-section if the Growth of your baby is larger than it is expected to be. But, remember, estimates of your baby’s size aren’t always 100% accurate, so you need not worry much about this. 

The mother will get another fetal growth scan and colour Doppler studies closer to the due date (if required), between 36 and 40 weeks to:

  • Check the position of the umbilical cord
  • Measure the amount of amniotic fluid
  • Check the placental position and maturity
  • Know the baby’s position and weight
  • Check the baby’s well being and circulation
  • Assess how a previous caesarean scar appear
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