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How to do an informative useful antenatal scan?
Actually the objective of doing obstetric ultrasound scan and hence the information that can be conveyed to your patient differs according to the time scan is performed, there are 4 distinct gestational zones during pregnancy where obstetric ultrasound scan will have a different scan objective.
These gestational zones are:
Scans done before 11 weeks gestation: Where the main objective will be to verify maternal health, site and number of the gestational sac(s), and viability of pregnancy.
Scans done between 18 to 24 weeks of pregnancy [Anomaly Scan]: The main objective now is to screen for structural anomalies although you may come across some soft markers of chromosomal anomalies, site of the placenta should be verified, amniotic fluid, umbilical cord insertion both sides seen..etc. It is better to have an anomaly scan check-list prepared and followed to avoid missing important items in obstetric anomaly scan.
Scans done after 28 weeks of gestation till term; now this scan is to prepare patient for her child-birth, the fetal presentation, position, and most important fetal well-being in terms of fetal growth, and exclusion of fetal distress (hypoxia and/or acidosis) are the corner stones for obstetric late scans, electronic fetal heart rate monitoring (Non-stress test, Biophysical Profile and intrapartum CTG) are explined in details.
For Simplicity, any obstetric ultrasound scan you offer to your patient at all times should cover 3 main "M” aspects during examination:
- Morphology (fetus, placenta, umbilical cord and amniotic fluid).
- Measurements (biometry)
- Maturity & Well-being