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At 14 weeks of pregnancy, the mother-to-be has already entered the second trimester. By this time, morning sickness, fatigue, and other unpleasant symptoms usually disappear, and the belly starts showing. Inside the womb, the baby is fully formed by now, measuring around 8.5 cm and weighing about 42 gm. As part of the routine check-up, your gynaecologist would recommend an ultrasound at 14 weeks to ensure your baby is healthy, and the development is normal.
In this article, we shall discuss the need to get an ultrasound done at 14 weeks and try to address relevant questions you may have if you are 14 weeks pregnant.
14 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound – Why Is It Needed?
All pregnant women desire to see how their baby is growing in the womb. And, to ensure the proper growth of the baby, gynaecologists recommend an ultrasound from time to time. Here is why an ultrasound becomes necessary at week-14 of the pregnancy:
- To See the Baby Move: At 14 weeks, you will be able to see that the baby moves her hands and feet a lot more, and she may even suck her thumb.
- To Monitor the Heart Rate: At 14 Weeks, the radiologist will monitor the baby’s heart rate to make sure it is functioning normally. You can also hear the baby’s heartbeat if a Doppler ultrasound is done. It measures the rate of blood flowing through the umbilical cord and in other parts of the baby’s body.
- To Check Bone Development: At 14 weeks, your baby’s bones begin to harden in a process called ossification. You will be able to see the bones glowing white on the ultrasound in the second trimester; something that cannot be seen in the first-trimester scan. The radiologist will check to ensure that bone growth is normal.
- To Check for Birth Defects: The ultrasound technician will also check for signs of birth defects and congenital abnormalities.
- To Monitor Amniotic Fluid Level: The 14-week pregnancy ultrasound is also done to make sure that there are adequate levels of amniotic fluid in the womb for the healthy development of your baby.
- To Confirm Multiple Pregnancies: An ultrasound at this stage can also confirm if you are pregnant with twins or triplets.
14 Week Pregnancy Ultrasound – How to Prepare
At 14 weeks, the technician will carry out an abdominal ultrasound. It requires your bladder to be full as it helps the radiologist get clearer images of the baby. Drink a few glasses of water about 30 to 45 minutes before your ultrasound, so that your bladder is full. You can also prepare a set of questions about the health and development of your baby to ask the technician.
How Long Does the Ultrasound Take?
An ultrasound at 14 weeks for a single pregnancy will take about 20 to 30 minutes. It may take longer if you are pregnant with multiples or if the baby is in a position where the internal organs and limbs are not clearly visible.
How Is the Ultrasound Performed?
Just like any other pregnancy ultrasound, you will need to lay down on the examination table and expose your belly. A radiologist will squirt some clear, water-based gel on your belly and use an ultrasound transducer to get images of your baby on a monitor. In some cases, the scan may be done transvaginally, where a probe is inserted into the vagina to get clearer images of the foetus. This is not painful and produces the most reliable images.
What Can Be Seen on the Ultrasound
The baby at 14 weeks ultrasound is about the size of a lime or peach. Here is what you can see on the ultrasound:
- The baby’s bones begin to harden, so they look bigger and brighter on the scan.
- The baby moves her hands and feet around a lot, and you may even see her suck her thumb.
- You can see and hear the baby’s heartbeat.
- You can see the baby’s fingers, toes, nails, and hair clearly.
- The genitalia is well developed by now. But, the radiologist is not allowed to disclose the baby’s gender in India.
- The baby has her own unique fingerprints now, though you cannot see them on the ultrasound scan.
- The baby has facial expressions, and you can see her smile, frown, or grimace.
- The skin will no longer look transparent and is covered with lanugo, which is fine baby hair. The lanugo helps the foetus maintain constant body temperature.
- The baby now has eyebrows, hair, and well-proportioned arms. They are all visible in the ultrasound.
- The neck of the baby would have grown, causing her chin to lift up from her chest.
- The ears and eyes are nearly in the place where they should be at birth. The eyes are still firmly closed and do not open until the 28th week of pregnancy.
What If Any Abnormalities Are Detected in Week 14 of Pregnancy?
During the foetal ultrasound at week 14, if any abnormalities are detected, the doctor will advise you to go for further testing to confirm the abnormality. The gynaecologist may recommend tests like foetal echocardiography if she suspects heart defects. The doctor may even recommend Amniocentesis, blood tests, or Chorionic Villi Sampling to detect genetic disorders. If the test confirms any abnormality, the gynaecologist will recommend the further course of action.
For mothers-to-be who have not had the nuchal translucency scan (NTS) in the first trimester, this is the last chance to do the NTS as the skin of the neck does not remain transparent after 14 weeks. By 14 weeks of pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage reduces, and the baby begins to grow and develop at a steady rate. An ultrasound at 14 weeks of pregnancy, therefore, helps ensure that the baby is healthy and growing well.
Next Week: 15 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound