Mum and Dad to be, Lucy Bearley and Stuart Barrett got a shock at a recent ultrasound appointment when they witnessed and incredible moment live on screen.
The expectant parents from Thatcham, England, about 55 miles west of London, were at the doctor’s office for their baby’s 28-week scan.
During a 4D ultrasound, the baby turns his head to face mum and dad. He then gives a little wave. Now that’s a womb with a view!
Obstetric ultrasounds are common practice in medical imaging centres and are used to monitor the growth and development of a growing fetus. It is a very safe and accurate investigation of your unborn baby as ultrasound uses harmless high frequency inaudible sound waves to obtain images.
For the development of the growing embryo, multiple stages of ultrasound imaging are usually conducted throughout each trimester of the pregnancy.
When are Obstetric Ultrasounds carried out?
Early Pregnancy Scan: 6 to 12 weeks
If you’re very unsure of how many weeks pregnant you are, you may be offered an early or dating scan to determine a more accurate due date. If you have had previous miscarriages or have a high risk of miscarriage, you may also be offered an early scan.
First Trimester Scan (Nuchal Translucency Scan): 12 – 13 weeks and 6 days
This scan is optional but is used to determine and obtain ultrasound data for the first trimester which includes a combined screen for the fetal body length and the neck skin thickness. Pregnancy dating and the number of babies are also identified at this time.
The most sensitive screening test for Down syndrome is the combined screen which uses the above ultrasound data as well as maternal age and blood levels of specific hormones to assess this individual risk of chromosomal abnormality. The risks are assessed as either low or high.This is a screening test only and if high risk will detect 80-90% of Down syndrome pregnancies.
Norwest Medical Imaging is an accredited Nuchal Translucency first trimester screening practice. This ensures the practice undergoes regular audits of its performance with RANZCOG (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists).
Mid Trimester Scans: 19 or 20 weeks
This is referred to as the routine anomaly scan because a screen of the fetal anatomy is performed. This scan is the most time consuming of routine pregnancy scans and is performed via the transabdominal approach with recourse to transvaginal scanning if necessary. The fetal measurements are performed and early growth can be assessed. At this stage there is the opportunity for the parents to appreciate some features such as the facial profile, fingers and toes. This stage of the screening process is covered by Medicare and is the most common stage of Ultrasound Scanning.
Third Trimester: 22 weeks onward
You may be recommended to have one or more growth scans between 22 weeks and 40 weeks if you’ve previously given birth to a small baby, if you’re having twins or if you have other complications, for example, if you’re diabetic. Your doctor or midwife may suggest a growth scan if your baby feels and measures smaller than expected. However, If your pregnancy is straightforward, you probably won’t need any further scans after 22 weeks.
Preparing for an Obstetric Ultrasound
To ensure clear images, you will be asked to attend our centre with a full bladder. This is achieved by emptying your bladder 2 hours before your appointment and then immediately drinking 600ml of water. Do not empty your bladder again before the procedure. You may eat normally and take any necessary medication.
An ultrasound is an extremely accurate diagnostic tool. Very rarely, though, some abnormalities cannot be detected due to the position of the baby, gestational age (weeks) or other normal variations. Do not be alarmed if the trained Sonographer or specialist recommends another scan or further tests. Your procedure will take approximately 15-60 minutes, after which you may wait while the images are prepared and reported. You can also pick up the films and report at a later time. They can also be provided on CD or electronic transfer to your referring practitioner if requested.