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The unborn baby at 17 weeks of pregnancy is about the size of your palm. The baby weighs about 113 to 140gm and measures around 11 to 14 cm in length. The baby has grown much stronger, and the mom-to-be can feel the baby’s movements more clearly. The baby’s kicks are more pronounced. The doctor may recommend an ultrasound at 17 weeks to check for any developmental anomalies.
Why Do You Need to Have Ultrasound Scan at 17th Week of Pregnancy?
- To Check for Birth Anomalies: The doctor may recommend an ultrasound to check for birth defects and developmental anomalies such as Down syndrome or Spina bifida in the unborn baby.
- Heartbeat: The ultrasound is also done to monitor the heart rate of a baby, which is between 140 to 150 beats per minute, twice that of an adult.
- Growth Restrictions In Twins: In case of multiples, an ultrasound is done to make sure that the space in the uterus is sufficient for both babies and that the babies are not lagging in growth and development due to lack of space.
- To Check the Umbilical Cord and the Quantity of Amniotic Fluid: The doctor will check the umbilical cord to ensure that it has 2 arteries and 1 vein. The doctor also needs to ensure that the level of amniotic fluid is adequate. Low levels of amniotic fluid can have serious consequences like miscarriage, birth defects, preterm birth, stillbirth, squeezing of the umbilical cord or slow growth of the baby.
- To Measure the size of Your Uterus: The technician will measure the size of your uterus to make sure the pregnancy is healthy, and the baby has ample space to grow. This measurement also corresponds to the number of weeks of your pregnancy and signals that the pregnancy is progressing normally.
- To Check Foetal Anatomy: The 17-week foetal ultrasound is also done to check the foetal anatomy and make sure all the body parts and internal organs like heart, brain, stomach, spine, kidneys, bladder and reproductive organs are developing normally.
- To Determine Baby’s Due Date and Gestational Age: The baby’s due date and gestational age are measured in this scan.
- To Check the Placental Position: The technician will check the position of the placenta to make sure it does not cover the opening of the cervix.
How to Prepare for Your 17 Weeks Pregnancy Scan?
The 17 weeks foetus ultrasound scan requires you to have some fluid in the bladder so that the sonographer is able to capture good images of your baby. However, it is not necessary for you to be uncomfortably full. You can have 3 glasses of water 30 minutes before your scan. Wear comfortable clothes so that the sonographer has easy access to your abdomen.
How Long Does 17th Week Ultrasound Take?
This scan could take between 40 minutes to an hour as there are several measurements that the technician needs to make. The 17-week ultrasound for twins will take much longer. If the unborn baby at the 17 weeks ultrasound is in a position where the internal organs are not clearly visible, the scan will take more time.
How is 17 Week Ultrasound Scan Performed?
The 17 weeks ultrasound is an abdominal scan. The technician will make you lie down and put some clear gel on your exposed abdomen. The technician will then use the ultrasound wand to press your abdomen to obtain images of the baby in your womb. After the scan, you can wipe off the gel or wash it as it is water based. If parts of the foetus are not clearly visible, then a transvaginal scan may be done where the ultrasound wand is placed inside the vagina in a painless way to get images of the foetus.
What Can You See in The 17 Weeks Scan?
Here is what you can see in the 17 weeks ultrasound scan:
- You can see hair on your baby’s head and fine hairs on the body.
- The baby’s facial features and expressions on the 17 weeks 3D ultrasound
- The heart and the heart beating. You can also see the body parts and other organs like kidneys and stomach that the technician may point out to you.
- The technician will be able to see the genitalia of the baby, but will not be able to disclose the gender as sex determination is banned in India.
- You can see the baby’s hands and feet. You can also see all the movements that the baby makes during the scan.
- The baby’s head is now proportionate to the body, and this is clearly seen on the scan.
- The baby starts filling out as a layer of fat accumulates beneath the baby’s skin. You can see that the foetus looks rounder and more like a newborn.
- The baby’s eyes are nearly in their final position. The ears and nose are also in place. The baby starts hearing your voice at this time and can be startled by sharp sounds.
- You can see the baby’s spinal column. You can also see the bones of the baby’s arms, legs, hands, and feet.
What if There Are Abnormalities?
If any abnormalities are detected during the 17 weeks ultrasound scan, the radiologist will speak to your doctor and let her know the nature of the problem. The doctor will then guide you on the next steps to be taken. Tests like blood tests, level 2 ultrasounds, CVS, and amniocentesis help in confirming the exact nature of the anomaly. The doctor will then discuss treatments and other options with you.
Most women feel the baby’s movements for the first time during the 17th week in the form of little flutters and later as stronger kicks and rolls. This is called quickening. Hearing the unborn baby’s heartbeat, seeing the baby’s movements and facial expressions on the ultrasound scan is a very positive and exhilarating experience for the parents-to-be, especially if this is their first pregnancy.
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