The Baby Diaries – Judah – week twenty (the anomaly scan)
There are a lot of questions you may forget to ask when you attend your anomaly scan, it is so easily done. There you are seeing your baby looking more like a real human as opposed to the more skeletal version you would’ve seen at the dating scan. This is when if the scan is clear you can make out whose nose baby has, or even if they have big feet. It is so mesmerising seeing your child there wriggling around and just that awareness that ‘hey, there’s a little person alive inside of me.’
Again, I was quite numb and unexpectant when I made my list as you can probably tell from above. I had the ‘Your Pregnancy Bible‘ book and had read it a lot. So, the questions I had written down where the ones I deemed important to me to check.
I found everything about going for the anomaly scan both exciting and nerve wracking. I was so nervous that there may be something up with our ‘rainbow baby’ but also was excited by the little tasks such as drinking the correct amount of water (approximately half a litre) to make sure that the sonographer could get the best picture that was possible.
This scan takes a lot longer than the dating scan as they have lots to check, that all the internal organs are growing and at the right size, Here is a list from babycentre
What will the sonographer look at on my scan?
The sonographer will examine all your baby’s organs and take measurements. She will look at:
- The shape and structure of your baby’s head. At this stage severe brain problems, which happen very rarely, are visible.
- Your baby’s face, to check for a cleft lip. Cleft palates inside a baby’s mouth are hard to see and are not often picked up.
- Your baby’s spine, both along its length, and in cross section, to make sure that all the bones align, and that the skin covers the spine at the back.
- Your baby’s abdominal wall, to make sure it covers all the internal organs at the front, as well as check the placenta, umbilical cord and the amniotic fluid
- Your baby’s heart. The top two chambers (atria) and the bottom two chambers (ventricles) should be equal in size. The valves should open and close with each heartbeat. Your sonographer will also examine the major veins and arteries which carry blood to and from your baby’s heart
- Your baby’s stomach. Your baby swallows some of the amniotic fluid that he lies in, which is seen in his stomach as a black bubble.
- Your baby’s kidneys. The sonographer will check that your baby has two kidneys, and that urine flows freely into his bladder. If your baby’s bladder is empty, it should fill up during the scan and be easy to see. Your baby has been doing a wee every half an hour or so for some months now!
- Your baby’s arms, legs, hands and feet. The sonographer will look at your baby’s fingers and toes, but not count them.
The other main thing they will check is where your placenta is lying. I had placenta praevia which meant that my placenta was lying low under the baby. They arrange for another scan in your third trimester if this is the case (usually at around 36 weeks) just to make sure that it has moved out of the way of the birth canal. If this isn’t the case they will usually recommend a caesarean section.
Don’t forget that it’s at this stage that you can find out if it’s a boy or a girl if you want to. My friends had a student sonographer who took a lot longer and then they forgot to ask even though they had previously intended to. They went the rest of the pregnancy expectant for the surprise and made the most out of it, don’t think they were disappointed with not knowing for long. I on the other hand would not have been able to cope with that. I’d have been paying for an extra scan.
You can arrange an earlier sex determining scan from as early as 17 weeks if you wanted to book one privately if you just can’t wait to find out. I debated this *coughs* control freak. I looked into the 4d scans, baby scan have places all over the country. I decided that I would still have to wait for the baby to arrive and it would be good practice for me to get used to waiting. Pregnancy definitely makes you patient, or teaches you patience in preparation for the baby that will require a lot.
We of course found out we were having a little boy and James was beside himself. He had decided in his head that he could only produce girls and was very pleasantly surprised. It was a special thing for me to able to provide him with his first son. It is hard being an expectant mum in a blended family and this was a special first for us as a couple.