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Pregnancy is an exciting time, especially for first-time parents. But, it can also be a tad challenging for some mothers. Nowadays, different scans are recommended periodically for the close monitoring of the health of the baby along with that of the mother. It is especially useful in high-risk pregnancies.
If you are expecting a baby soon and are wondering what kind of scans to get done, Dr Shalini Verma -- an obstetrician-gynecologist -- breaks it down for you. "I think we can all agree pregnancy is one big bumpy ride," she quipped in an Instagram post. "This is the time you've to look after yourself the most and that is why you MUST have these 4 ultrasounds to check your baby's health and development," she stated.
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According to Dr Verma, the first scan is called 'Dating Scan'. It is done 6 to 8 weeks of your pregnancy to confirm your baby's heartbeat; the location of the pregnancy and rule out ectopic pregnancy (wherein the baby grows in the fallopian tubes and not the uterus); to find out if you have multiple pregnancies (carrying one or more babies in the uterus); your due date if unsure of your last menstrual period (LMP).
The doctor listed the second scan, which is the 'Nuchal Translucency Scan' (NT). "It is a level 1 scan usually done at 11 to 14 weeks of pregnancy. The best time to do it is at 12-13 weeks. NT scan is done to assess the risk of chromosomal abnormality, such as Down syndrome and [to find out about] neural tube defects," she explained.
The third scan is the 'Anomaly Scan', which is a level 2 scan and an important one done at 18-22 weeks of pregnancy. It finds out if there has been a proper development of all internal organs. "It also checks the baby's heart rate and rhythm, the position of placenta and cervical length to make sure the cervix is closed," the gynecologist explained.
The last scan is a growth scan or 'Third Trimester Scan' done at 32-34 weeks of pregnancy. It is done to check the growth and position of the baby; the amount of amniotic fluid; the location of the placenta (if it was previously low-lying).
"These are the four must-do pregnancy scans. The only time you might need additional ultrasounds are in case of high-risk pregnancy. Pregnancy scans are completely safe," the doctor added.
Do check with your own doctor though, and keep in touch with them throughout the pregnancy to figure out the best and most comfortable course for you and your child.