Getting an ultrasound scan is a great way to check up on your baby in the womb. It can be an amazing experience as well as a chance for your sonographer to perform health checks and assess your baby’s growth. You should have at least two scans during pregnancy, but you might want to have more. You’ll get extra time to bond with your baby and the reassurance of knowing that all is well..
What is a Growth Scan?
One of the extra scan types that we provide at the Birth Company
is the growth scan. We offer Wellbeing/Growth scans in the later months of pregnancy, after the second routine scan. All women will be offered an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks, but this could be the last time you see your baby before the birth. It’s a long wait until you’re due at 40 weeks, so we provide growth scans as a simple way to check up on your baby. You can have a growth scan at our clinic at any time between 23 and 40 weeks.
Reasons to Have a Growth Scan
You don’t need to have a medical reason to have a growth scan
. You can just do it because you want to see your baby again or if you feel in need of a little extra reassurance. However, it can be a good idea to arrange a growth and wellbeing scan if:
- The baby appeared smaller or larger than expected during previous scans
- Your baby bump isn’t as big as expected for this point in the pregnancy or is larger than normal
- You are having a higher risk pregnancy or experiencing complications like gestational diabetes
- The placenta was lower than usual at your previous scan
- You’ve had problems in previous pregnancies, such as a premature delivery
- The baby isn’t moving as much as usual so you want to check on him or her
- Your midwife or obstetrician has recommended an extra scan for another reason
What Happens During a Growth Scan?
A growth scan is performed in the same way as your other routine ultrasounds. You will be asked to lie down and remove any clothing from your abdomen. A small amount of gel will be applied to your skin and then the ultrasound probe will be passed across your belly. We’ll take pictures from various angles and take a look at them on the screen. You’ll be able to see your baby and listen to the heartbeat.
During the scan, we’ll also measure your baby and perform some health checks to ensure that all is well. We will:
- Measure your baby’s head, body and limbs and estimate his or her weight
- Check the placenta and the amount of amniotic fluid
- Perform a Doppler scan to assess the blood supply through the umbilical cord
- Make sure that baby is moving around and looking well
- Find out your baby’s sex if you don’t already know (although this can be tricky later in pregnancy as we might not get a clear view)
- Look for any abnormalities and check the major organs and structures as much as we can (it isn’t always possible to get a good look at everything in late pregnancy)
After the scan, you’ll be given a full report to add to your maternity notes. You will also receive pictures and videos of your baby via Tricefy. It can be surprising to compare these with your earlier scans as you’ll see how much your baby has changed over the weeks and months of pregnancy. If you have any questions or concerns, you will be able to discuss them with your sonographer or consultant.
How Big Is Your Baby?
Despite the name, the growth scan is a chance to check on more than your baby’s size. However, we will also take measurements of your baby so we can be sure that he or she is on track. You will probably be able to see the difference in your baby’s size since your last ultrasound too as babies will grow very rapidly as they prepare for the birth.
- 23 weeks: your baby weighs about 500g and is the size of a large mango. If baby was able to stretch out then you would see that he or she is around 29cm long from head to heel.
- 28 weeks: baby should weight just over 1kg by this point and measures nearly 38cm from head to heel.
- 36 weeks: baby weighs around 2.6kg and is gaining about 30g a day. He or she should measure about 47cm from head to heel.
- 40 weeks: baby is ready to be born (if he or she hasn’t already arrived). At 40 weeks, babies will weigh around 3.5kg and be just over 51cm long on average.
When to Arrange Your Growth Scan?
We usually recommend arranging two growth scans at around 28 and 36 weeks. The 28 week scan will include a 3D preview, which can help you to decide if you want to arrange a full 4D scan before 32 weeks. The 36 week scan is intended as a pre-birth check up. We’ll see how your baby is positioned and how ready he or she looks for the birth. We can get a good idea of your baby’s expected birth weight and size from scans performed from 28 weeks on.
The 28 and 36 week scans seem to suit most women as together with the 12 and 20 weeks scans they will ensure that you’re seeing your baby regularly throughout the pregnancy. You won’t have to wait too long between your scans. However, it’s completely up to you when you want to have your growth scans. You can choose how many ultrasounds you want to have and when they will take place.
We can perform growth scans at any time between 23 and 40 weeks. If you want to arrange some extra scans earlier in the pregnancy, we also offer early ultrasounds and reassurance scans between 14 and 24 weeks.
How many ultrasounds are you planning to have during your pregnancy?