Get the Most Out of Your Growth Scan

Growth scans are usually carried out in the second and third trimester to check how your baby is growing and if the development goes as planned. You may be recommended to take this scan at the advice of your doctor or your midwife if there are signs that your baby’s growth rate is smaller than expected or that that the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby is too large. Growth scans can be carried out starting with the 14th week of pregnancy.

Your midwife will initially determine if your baby’s growth rate is as expected by measuring your belly with a tape measure and by feeling your bump with her hands. If the baby appears to be growing faster than the average expected rate, there are usually no reasons for worry. If the size of your baby appears to be lower than expected for your stage of pregnancy, however, your midwife will recommend you to take a growth scan for accurate measurements.

What happens during the Growth Scan?

The sonographer will take several measurements with the help of this ultrasound scan and compare it with the average measurements for your week of pregnancy. The circumference of your baby’s head and tummy will be measured firstly, to check whether they are within the average limits. Then, the legs’ size will be assessed, by measuring the length of the femur bone. The amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby will be checked by measuring its depth.

The information on all of these measurements is then pieced together in a detailed report that compares your baby’s measurements with the average ones at the respective stage of pregnancy. It is possible for some measurements to be average and for others to exceed it or fall below the limits.

Babies usually don’t grow steadily, but rather at an uneven rate. At least two sets of measurements at different weeks are often recommended for analysing the baby’s growth rate and not just the size at one point in time. Most sonographers recommend serial growth scans for accurate measurements of your baby’s growth rate. By taking the scan in different weeks of pregnancy, your doctor can measure the growth rate and track it as your pregnancy develops, which is more relevant than the information obtained from a single baby scan.

No special preparations are needed for the growth scan. Usually you don’t need to have a full bladder or to eat at a certain hour. Just feel free to eat and drink as usual and dress comfy for your growth scan appointment.