IS MY BABY NORMAL ?
The good news is most babies are born perfect.
The answer to this is based on complex science and understanding of what can go wrong in a fetus (unborn baby). 3-4% of all babies are born with major congenital malformations. It is this group of babies we are focused to identify so we can help from the start.
Of the 4% of babies with problems 70% of abnormalities are structural, 20% caused by genetic defects and in the remaining 10% or so, the normally formed organs do not function properly, hence the term functional problems.
The ultrasound examination cannot directly detect genetic problems. Indirectly there are certain manifestation that are strongly linked with genetic defects. These are a seen usually at the 11-13 weeks window in the first trimester. The First Trimester Genetic Scan is performed during this 11 to 13 week period. It is during this time that screening for genetic defects like Down Syndrome can be discussed and be done.
The Second Trimester Detailed Structural Scan is performed at the 20-24 week window. This examination examines most major organs in the babies and confirms that they exist and look normal. 70% of problems are detected during this examination.
At varying points in the growth of the baby, the organs begin to functions. These functions gradually increase as the baby matures towards the point it is delivered. These ' functions' can go wrong and manifest as structural abnormalities that can be picked up during the ultrasound examination. These are rarer and account for the remaining 10% or so of the total. This group of problems are generally picked up later in the development of the baby. The Third Trimester Detailed Functional Scan is usually performed in the 32-34 week window of the pregnancy.
Rarely a perfectly normal baby can be affected by external factors like toxins and poisons, including infections, alcohol and tobacco, and also manifest as structural abnormalities on the ultrasound. These occur at the time of exposure.
The answer to the question “Is my baby normal?” is best answered by the following: