Scans during second trimester of pregnancy help in assessing the growth of the baby in the womb, as well as in detecting worrisome conditions.
With the first treimester over, it’s one crucial trimester down with two more to go! The nausea and the morning sickness of the first few weeks of pregnancy usually subside by the beginning of the second trimester and true joys of pregnancy – the showing of the tummy, the feeling of the kicks of the little one in the womb set in now. This is also the time where regular evaluation of the maternal and baby health are carried out, to ensure a safe, full-term pregnancy.
Ultrasonography in pregnancy:
An ultrasonography in pregnancy (abbreviated to USG scan) or the baby scan as it is commonly known, sends sound waves of a certain frequency through a machine to the uterus. The computer then sketches the reflections of these waves as theybounce off various structures in the pelvic region to create an image. This image helps the doctors map the growth and development of the foetus and check for any anomalies that might develop.
Second Trimester Ultrasound – The Anomaly Scan:
The Anatomy Scan (or the Anomaly Scan) is the most important scan of all of the 2nd trimester ultrasound scans.
The anatomy scan or anatomy ultrasound is usually done between 18-22 weeks of pregnancy, when all the vital organs are growing and yet there is time for any corrective measures, should they be needed. As the name suggests, it assesses the baby’s anatomy, and checks for the viable development of every vital organ.
The anomaly scans serve the following purposes:
- Checks for the movements of the foetus
- Checks the foetal growth
- Checks for the development of all the internal organs, everything from heart to its chambers, kidneys, spine is checked thoroughly
- Gauges the quantity of the amniotic fluid to ensure smooth movement of the foetus in the womb
- Checks the positioning of the placenta and the umbilical cord
- Scans for any pointers of evident chromosomal abnormalities
- Checks the cervix and measures the birthing canal to ensure smoother vaginal delivery
Along with these, the doctor will also check for:
- The number of babies in the womb, as sometimes, it can be confirmed only by week 20
- Structure and shape of the baby’s head
- Checks for cleft lips
- Baby’s limbs, counting the number of fingers and toes
Rarely, the baby’s position might not be conducive for proper scanning. In these cases, the sonographer is likely to reschedule the appointment, but no chances are taken with this particularly crucial baby ultrasound.
While it is possible to determine the sex of the baby at this stage, sex determination is banned in India. Due to high rates of female infanticide in the country, every sonographer will start with the baby ultrasound only after taking a signed undertaking from you. This undertaking clearly states that you will not enquire about the sex of the child in the womb.
Other scans during the second trimester:
Usually if the anatomy scan shows some abnormality, the doctor might ask you to go for one or more scans after that. It is best not to panic at that stage though. Discussing all your options with the doctor and understanding the reasons behind the suggestion is a better way to move ahead.