The Importance of an early Pregnancy Scan for Expectant Mothers
Pregnancy is a time of great excitement and anticipation for expectant mothers, but it can also raise many questions and concerns. One crucial aspect of prenatal care is having an early pregnancy scan, which can provide vital information about the health and development of your baby. A series of diagnostic tests, including an early pregnancy scan, is performed during the first trimester to confirm the pregnancy, determine the due date, and monitor the fetus’s health. Consider visiting a fetal medicine specialist in Hyderabad if you are looking for a highly skilled and experienced healthcare professional to assist you with prenatal care.
Expectant mothers can gain peace of mind, and healthcare providers can identify any potential problems or complications early on, ensuring prompt and appropriate treatment, by having an early pregnancy scan. In short, an early pregnancy scan is essential in ensuring the mother’s and developing fetus’s health and well-being. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of early pregnancy scans and why they are essential for expectant mothers.
What is an early pregnancy scan?
A viability scan, also known as a dating scan, is a diagnostic test performed during the first trimester of pregnancy. The early pregnancy scan report confirms the pregnancy, determines the due date and assesses the fetus’s health and development.
High-frequency sound waves are used during the scan to create images of the uterus and the developing fetus. These images enable the healthcare provider to assess the fetus’ growth, size, and position, as well as the pregnancy’s location and placenta size.
Early pregnancy scans are non-invasive, safe, and necessary for monitoring the pregnancy’s health and well-being. In addition, they can aid in diagnosing any potential problems or complications, such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, and enable prompt and appropriate treatment.
Types of early pregnancy scan
The following are some examples of early scans during pregnancy for expectant mothers:
Transvaginal ultrasound: It involves inserting a tiny probe into the vagina to better view the uterus and the developing fetus. It is usually performed during the first trimester and can aid in diagnosing pregnancy complications.
Transabdominal Ultrasound: This type of ultrasound creates images of the uterus and the fetus by using a wand-like device on the surface of the abdomen. It is usually done in the first trimester and is a non-invasive way to check the pregnancy’s health.
Nuchal Translucency Scan: This ultrasound is performed between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy to determine the thickness of the fluid at the back of the fetus’ neck. This test can be used to prevent Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities.
Morphology Scan: This type of ultrasound is used to check the physical development of the fetus, including the head, abdomen, arms, legs, and organs, between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Growth Scan: This type of ultrasound is used later in pregnancy to monitor the fetus’s growth and well-being. A growth scan in pregnancy can help identify any potential pregnancy issues, such as restricted growth or placental problems.
These are the most common types of ultrasound scans. However, depending on her circumstances and the health of her pregnancy, the specific scans that a mother may require may vary.
Why an Early Pregnancy Scan is Important
The first reason why an early pregnancy scan is essential is that it confirms pregnancy. An early pregnancy scan can detect the presence of a gestational sac, the first visible sign of pregnancy. This is a crucial first step in establishing a due date and planning for prenatal care. It can also give expectant mothers peace of mind, knowing that their pregnancy has been confirmed and that they are taking the necessary steps to ensure the best possible outcome for their baby.
Checking the Location of the Pregnancy:
Another important reason for an early pregnancy scan is to check the location of the pregnancy. In some cases, a pregnancy may be ectopic, meaning it grows outside the uterus. An early pregnancy scan can detect an ectopic pregnancy and allow for prompt treatment to ensure the safety and health of both the mother and the baby. In addition, early detection of an ectopic pregnancy is essential to prevent potentially life-threatening complications.
Monitoring the Development of the Fetus:
An early pregnancy scan can also monitor the development of the fetus. The scan can provide a clear image of the fetus and check for any signs of abnormalities or issues. This information can be crucial in determining the best course of action for the pregnancy, such as medication or referral to a specialist. The scan can also allow expectant mothers to see their babies for the first time and start bonding with their little ones.
Determining the Due Date:
Finally, an early pregnancy scan can help determine the due date. The scan can measure the size of the fetus and calculate the due date based on the gestational age of the pregnancy. This information can help make plans for the delivery and ensure that the mother receives adequate prenatal care. Having an accurate due date can also help expectant mothers plan for time off work, prepare for childbirth, and make other necessary arrangements for the arrival of their baby.
When to Have an Early Pregnancy Scan
During the First Trimester
During the first six weeks, you will have the first pregnancy scan, and you can
- have a viability and dating scan, followed by an NT scan between nine and eleven weeks.
- Discover your due date through an ultrasound scan.
- Listen to your baby’s heartbeat for the first time in six weeks.
- Check to see how many babies are in your womb and if they are in the proper position in the uterus.
- Examine the images produced by the above scans for signs of spotting or excessive bleeding.
During the second trimester
During the second trimester, you will
- Determine the baby’s gender (not applicable to India).
- Examine the fetus’s growth and position within the womb.
- Check for congenital disabilities and birth defects.
- Find out if your baby has Down Syndrome.
During the third trimester
A transvaginal scan is usually avoided during the third trimester, but your doctor may recommend it if there are any medical issues. Regular ultrasound scans pregnancy in the third trimester.
- Examine the baby’s anatomy for any anomalies or changes.
- Examine the baby’s position.
- Examine medical diagnostic reports to see if the baby is growing normally.
The ideal time to have an early pregnancy scan is between 6 and 8 weeks. The gestational sac is visible at this stage, and the fetus can be measured to determine the due date. However, it is essential to discuss the timing of the scan with a fetal medicine specialist in Hyderabad. In addition, some women may benefit from an earlier scan if they are experiencing complications or have a history of pregnancy issues. Your doctor will be able to instruct the best time for your individual needs, taking into account your medical history, symptoms, and other factors.
How are early pregnancy scans done?
An early pregnancy scan can be trans-abdominally or trans-vaginally performed. Trans-abdominal scans are performed between weeks 7 and 11 of pregnancy. These are commonly referred to as ultrasound scans performed by one of the hospital’s highly qualified professionals (sonographers).
During the procedure, the sonographer requests that the mother drink a glass of water to get a good view of the baby (as the bladder helps the ultrasound echoes reach the womb). Then, a gel is applied to the abdomen, and a hand-held device (transducer) is moved over the skin to pick up images of the baby. If the images are unclear, the sonographer may recommend a transvaginal scan.
The sonographer inserts a vaginal transducer into the vagina during the transvaginal scan (after lubricating with plenty of gel). Once inside, sound waves bounce off the internal organs and send images of (the interior of) the pelvis to a monitor.
An early pregnancy scan is essential to prenatal care for expectant mothers. It can provide crucial information about the health and development of the fetus, confirm pregnancy, check the pregnancy’s location, monitor the fetus’s development, and determine the due date. By having an early pregnancy scan, expectant mothers can ensure the best possible outcome for their pregnancy and baby. Be sure to discuss the timing with a fetal medicine specialist in Hyderabad if you are an expectant mother.