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- Why Do You Need an Ultrasound Scan at 19 Weeks?
- How to Prepare for a 19-Week Ultrasound Scan
- How Long Does a 19-Week Ultrasound Scan Take to Complete?
- How is the Scan Performed?
- What Can Be Seen in the Scan?
- What Sort of Abnormalities Can Be Detected Through This Scan?
- What if the Ultrasound Shows Abnormalities?
- How Safe is a 19-Week Ultrasound Scan?
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At 19 weeks of pregnancy, a woman has completed half of her pregnancy journey. At this stage, pregnant women have to go for a mid-pregnancy ultrasound scan to determine the growth of the unborn baby. A healthy baby at 19 weeks ultrasound is usually around 6 inches long, weighing almost 240 grams. After 19 weeks of pregnancy, the uterus is likely to grow around a centimetre each week.
When you are in your 19th week of pregnancy, the doctor would want to check your blood sugar levels and the haemoglobin. Furthermore, the doctor will suggest an ultrasound to diagnose anomalies and to assess the baby’s heartbeat, foetus’ motor activity, the condition of the amniotic fluid, and size of the baby and the uterus.
Why Do You Need an Ultrasound Scan at 19 Weeks?
As the pregnancy progresses into the 19th week, the foetus tends to develop quickly. The doctor will conduct an ultrasound at this point to check if the pregnancy is progressing smoothly. The 19-week ultrasound scan is also known as the “morphology scan” or the “structural scan” because the sonographer evaluates the structure and shape of the foetus on the scan. This detailed ultrasound may sometimes be referred to as the “anomaly scan” as it closely examines the foetus to check for any major physical abnormalities. The doctor may take note of the following things:
- Verify the foetal heartbeat
- Evaluate the foetal size
- Check the placenta’s position
- Detect multiple pregnancies
- Determine the extent of amniotic fluid enclosing the unborn baby
- Seek foetal abnormalities, if any
- Confirm the expected date of delivery
How to Prepare for a 19-Week Ultrasound Scan
A 19-week scan requires almost no special preparations. But it is essential that you have a full bladder for the scan. This does not mean that you should be uncomfortably full. It is better to ask your doctor how much water you should drink before the scan.
A full bladder is helpful because it pushes the uterus upwards, making it accessible to the scanning probe and gives a clear view. This allows the doctor to have a clear view of the pelvis, the uterus, and the ovaries.
For the scan, you should wear loose and comfortable clothing that allows the sonographer to have easy access to your belly.
How Long Does a 19-Week Ultrasound Scan Take to Complete?
Most 19-week ultrasound scans take no more than 30 to 40 minutes to complete.
How is the Scan Performed?
Ultrasound scan employs high-frequency sound waves to view graphic images of the unborn baby. The sonographer conducting the scan may apply an ultrasound gel on your abdominal area, which can be wiped off once the scan is complete. He will then place a small probe or transducer on your belly that will transmit the sound waves through the gel in your body. The transducer gathers the sounds which reflect back, and these sound waves get converted into images on a computer.
What Can Be Seen in the Scan?
A 19-week ultrasound scan can be exciting for the parents. It can be very thrilling for the parents to watch their unborn baby at 19 weeks. If you are getting a 4D scan, with the doctor’s help, you may be able to see the bones and limbs of the baby – white and the soft tissues which will look grey speckled with dots. The baby’s skin may seem transparent and red, mostly because of the presence of blood vessels. The baby’s skin may also appear to be covered with a creamy white coating known as vernix; however, this is visible only in high-end machines. The amniotic fluid surrounding the unborn baby will appear to be black. The doctor may be able to point out the major organs of the baby to you, including the baby’s heart.
What Sort of Abnormalities Can Be Detected Through This Scan?
The different kinds of abnormalities that can be detected through this scan are listed below:
- Congenital heart problems
- Hydrocephalus- accumulation of fluid within the brain
- Spina bifida – underdeveloped spinal cord
- A diaphragmatic hernia – irregular opening in the diaphragm due to which abdominal organs move up into the chest
- Anencephaly – an incomplete skull and underdeveloped brain
- Gastroschisis – an opening in the abdominal wall of the baby
- Major limb anomalies like short limbs or missing bones
- Major kidney complications like abnormal or missing kidney
- Down syndrome – a chromosomal disorder causing intellectual and developmental disabilities
What if the Ultrasound Shows Abnormalities?
In case the ultrasound shows any abnormality, the doctor will explain the anomaly and may layout the options for the most suitable treatment. Alternatively, the doctor may suggest that you discuss the case in detail with another specialist and take a decision.
The doctor may also want to examine the baby on another day when the baby is likely to be in a different position. Accordingly, he may ask you to come again after a few days for an additional scan. A single scan may not be able to give a holistic view of the problem, and you may have to undergo extra scans to establish the abnormality clearly.
How Safe is a 19-Week Ultrasound Scan?
A 19-week ultrasound scan is usually considered safe. It is non-invasive, painless, and does not involve ionising radiation. With the improvements in ultrasound technology, the option of a 19-week 3D ultrasound is also available, which can provide 3D images of the unborn baby.
The 19-week scan can offer pictures of your unborn baby signifying his growth and development. By this time an unborn baby may also develop some hearing abilities. So, it is a great idea to begin talking to your baby. It is vital to stay positive and healthy to ensure an enjoyable pregnancy.
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