17 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound: Procedure, Abnormalities and More

17 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound

When you’re pregnant, you don’t want to miss out on anything related to your baby. You are curious to know how your unborn baby is developing in your womb every single day and week. If you’re 17 weeks pregnant, you will want to know how much progress your baby has made.

Your baby at 17 weeks of pregnancy will be about the size of your palm. He/she may weigh about 113 to 140gm and measure around 11 to 14 cm in length. But his length and weight will also depend on hereditary factors. By this week, your baby must have grown stronger and you may feel your baby’s movements more clearly. To get a clear picture of how your little one is developing, you should go for an ultrasound scan. An ultrasound scan at 17 weeks can also help the doctor rule out developmental anomalies if any.

Why Do You Need an Ultrasound Scan at 17 Weeks?

Following are the reasons for performing an ultrasound scan at 17 weeks of pregnancy.

  • To hear the baby’s heartbeat: The ultrasound scan at 17 weeks may be done to monitor the heart rate of the baby, which is between 140 to 150 beats per minute, twice that of an adult.
  • To check for growth restrictions in twins: In case of twins or multiples, an ultrasound may be 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 the 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 done to check the foetal anatomy and to make sure all the body parts and internal organs like the heart, brain, stomach, spine, kidneys, bladder, and reproductive organs are developing normally.
  • To determine the due date and gestational age: The 17-week ultrasound scan also helps a doctor determine when the baby will be born.
  • 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 17th Week Pregnancy Scan

The 17th-week scan requires no special preparations but you need to have a full bladder at the time of the scan as it will help capture good images of your baby. That said, don’t drink too much water or you might feel uncomfortable. 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 a 17-Week Ultrasound Scan Take to Complete?

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 can last a little longer.

How Is an Ultrasound Scan Performed at 17th Week?

The 17 weeks ultrasound is an abdominal scan. The sonographer will ask you to lie down on the examination table and expose your belly and abdomen. The technician will then apply a gel on your abdomen and press a wand called a transducer on the skin. This wand will send ultrasound waves that will form an image of your baby on the monitor. After the scan, you can wipe off the gel or wash it off 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. But usually, a TVS is not required as the uterus is big enough and the images are clearly visible on the monitor through the abdominal scan.


What Will You See on the Scan at the Seventeenth Week of Your Pregnancy?

Here is what you can see in the 17 weeks ultrasound scan:

  • The baby’s facial features and expressions may be visible on the 17 weeks 3D ultrasound.
  • You may see your baby’s heart and other body parts and organs like kidneys and stomach. The technician may point them out to you.
  • The technician will be able to see the genitalia of the baby, but won’t 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 can be clearly seen on the scan.
  • By 17th week, fat accumulates beneath the baby’s skin. The foetus may look rounder on the scan.
  • You may see the baby’s spinal column and the bones of arms, legs, hands, and feet.

What If Any Abnormalities Are Seen in the Ultrasound?

If any abnormalities are detected during the 17th-week 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 may help in confirming the exact nature of the anomaly. The doctor will then discuss treatments and other options with you.

Hearing the unborn baby’s heartbeat and seeing the baby’s movements and facial expressions on the 4d ultrasound scan is a very positive and exhilarating experience for the parents-to-be, especially if this is their first pregnancy. So don’t skip this ultrasound scan or the others. Have a happy and healthy pregnancy!

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