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Growth Scan in Pregnancy: What It Is, Why It’s Done, and What to Expect

Growth Scan in Pregnancy
Medically reviewed by Dr Dhaval Prajapati, MD,IDCCM, EDIC, FIECMO, FCCS

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also feel like a roller coaster of unknowns. With all the appointments and various scans that come along with it, you may be wondering what a growth scan in pregnancy is and why it’s done. Hence, to learn more about growth scans and their importance in pregnancy, keep reading.

What is a Growth Scan?

A growth scan is a non-invasive medical test used to monitor the growth and development of a fetus during pregnancy. If you are wondering when are growth scans done in pregnancy then you must know that they are typically performed before the third trimester as part of routine prenatal care. Growth scans are also repeated during the final trimester for most women. This ultrasound-based scan provides valuable information about the baby’s health, such as their size, weight, and position, helping healthcare providers identify any potential issues early on. While the scan is safe and painless, it may cause some anxiety and worry for expectant parents. Overall, growth scans are an important tool in ensuring a healthy pregnancy and a safe delivery.

Why do Healthcare Providers Recommend Getting a Growth Scan Done?

A Growth Scan is an essential tool used to confirm the normal development of the fetus inside the womb. Here are some of the main benefits of a growth scan:

  • Check the baby’s overall health by monitoring their movements, breathing, and stretching
  • Determine the position and weight of the baby
  • Assess the amount of amniotic fluid present
  • Check the position and maturity of the placenta
  • Evaluate the position of the umbilical cord
  • Monitor the circulation of blood in the fetal body
  • Examine the appearance of a previous caesarean scar
  • Monitor the growth and development of twins during pregnancy

Overall, a growth scan is a crucial part of prenatal care and can help healthcare providers identify any potential issues with the baby’s health early on.

Step-by-Step Process of a Growth Scan

A growth scan is a routine medical procedure that pregnant women undergo to assess their baby’s growth and development. The process involves the following steps:

  1. Preparation: Before the scan, the expectant mother will be advised to drink plenty of water to fill her bladder, which helps improve the quality of the scan images.

  2. Arrival: Upon arrival at the clinic, the mother will be asked to lie down on the examination table and change into a gown.

  3. Gel Application: Your healthcare provider will apply a water-based gel to the mother’s abdomen to help transmit sound waves and facilitate the scanning process.

  4. Ultrasound Probe: Your healthcare provider will use an ultrasound probe to capture images of the fetus. The probe sends sound waves into the body, which bounce off the fetal tissues and create an image on a screen.

  5. Scanning: Your healthcare provider will move the ultrasound probe over the mother’s abdomen, capturing images of the fetus from different angles. They will measure the baby’s head circumference, abdominal circumference, and femur length to estimate the baby’s weight.

  6. Evaluation:  In this step, your healthcare provider will evaluate the images to assess the baby’s position, the amount of amniotic fluid, and the position and maturity of the placenta.

  7. Discussion:  After the scan, your healthcare provider will discuss the results with the expectant mother and suggest further testing or additional scans if necessary.

In summary, a growth scan is a straightforward and non-invasive procedure that provides critical information about the health and development of the fetus during pregnancy.

What is the Duration of the Growth Scan?

The Growth scan usually takes 20-30 minutes, however, it may take longer if there are any issues or if more measures are required. It should be noted that the healthcare provider may need to halt the scan to gather certain measurements or to gain a better look at the baby.

Interpreting the Results of a Growth Scan

Interpreting the results of a growth scan is an essential part of assessing the health and development of a fetus during pregnancy. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Normal Ranges:  The healthcare provider will compare the measurements taken during the growth scan to established norms for fetal development. They will consider the baby’s gestational age, the mother’s medical history, and other factors when interpreting the results.

  • Abnormal Results:  If the growth scan reveals abnormalities, the healthcare provider may recommend additional testing or monitoring. They will discuss the implications of the results with the expectant mother and explain what further steps are needed.

  • False Postives:  It’s important to remember that growth scans are not always accurate and can sometimes give false positive results. In some cases, the baby may appear smaller or larger than expected on the scan, but this doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem with the pregnancy.

  • Follow-Up: Regardless of the growth scan results, the expectant mother should continue to attend all scheduled prenatal appointments and follow their healthcare provider’s recommendations for care. Additional growth scans or other tests may be recommended if there are concerns about the baby’s development.

Overall, interpreting the results of a growth scan is a crucial part of prenatal care. Healthcare providers use the measurements taken during the scan to assess the baby’s growth and development and determine if additional testing or monitoring is necessary. While growth scans are not always accurate, they provide valuable information about the health of the fetus and can help detect potential issues early on in pregnancy.

What is the Cost of a Growth Scan?

The cost of an ultrasound fetal growth scan in India can vary depending on various factors such as the location and type of facility. On average, the cost can range from ₹ 700 to ₹ 1500. It is advisable to check with your healthcare provider or clinic to obtain an accurate estimate of the cost of a fetal growth scan.

Final Thoughts

A fetal growth scan in pregnancy is an essential part of prenatal care that help monitor the health and development of the fetus. If someone is pregnant, it’s important to attend all scheduled prenatal appointments and follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for care, which may include ultrasound scans. And remember, you can store and manage all your health records digitally with Health-e, an innovative platform that allows you to access your medical information from anywhere at any time. Try it out today to simplify your healthcare journey.

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Urja Patel graduated with a B.Sc in Radiation Therapy from Virginia CommonWealth University, Richmond, Virginia. Having gained Professional Experience working in Florida Hospital Waterman Tavares, FL and Rush Hospital Chicago, IL, she relocated to India and joined Health-e. Urja brings her years experience in consultation and relationship building to maintain relationships within the Doctor network, as well as creating and reviewing content for Health-e. In her spare time she loves reading and is an avid trekker.