The first trimester scan provides with the following information about your baby:
1. Genetic health
2. Basic structural integrity
3. Placental integrity
4. Complication of twin pregnancy
It will help detect:
1. Down syndrome and other genetic disorders. The exact risk can be calculated with a click of a button. (I want more information)
2. Major structural problems: brain, spine, bones, heart, abdomen and limbs
3. If your pregnancy has higher risk miscarriage / stillbirth
4. If you are going to develop pre-eclampsia - the serious version of high blood pressure in pregnancy later on. If you are - preventive measures can be started as soon as possible. (I want more information)
It is performed between 11 and 14 weeks of the pregnancy.
The following components are examined during the ultrasoun scan examination.
Nuchal translucency is the assessment of the fluid-filled space under the skin at the back of the neck. It gives indirect prediction of genetic and structural abnormalities. It is the basis of early detection of Down Syndrome. It also is the basis of early detection of structural malformations, complication of twin pregnancies and a long list of other conditions. An increased NT increases the risks of all the conditions mentioned. Most fetuses with increased NT are normal. However an amniocentesis for karyotype (genetic test) and a detailed structural study are needed before we can assume the fetus is normal. In the screening for Down Syndrome, the NT is generally combined with blood tests for an individualized calculation of risk. Today, the NT alone is rarely used to predict Down Syndrome. It is usually used in combination with blood test mentioned and has come to be known as the First Trimester Screen. Abnormally increased NT measurement is also associated with: growth restricted fetuses, stillbirths and a host of structural anomalies namely the heart.
Presence of the nasal bone decreases the chance that the test is going to wrongly predict a case. Absence of the a-wave of the ductus venosus is also predictive of genetically abnormal baby. It is also a predictor of babies with heart problems. A detailed fetal heart echocardiography should be performed at 24-26 weeks to confirm the structure and function of the heart.
Fetal structures can be examined as early as 14 weeks. This is especially so with increased expertise and high resolution ultrasound equipment. The fetal brain, heart, chest, abdomen and limbs can all be visualized to an extent. Gross abnormalities can be detected at this early stage.
Uterine artery doppler is the study of maternal blood flow in the uterine arteries supplying the uterus. The pattern of blood flow to the uterus has a typical pattern in the normal and abnormal pregnancy. Abnormal patterns in uterine artery blood flow is associated with: hypertension in pregnancy, small babies, miscarriages and fetal deaths (stillbirths).
At the end of the examination the exact risk for common genetic defects such Down, Edward and Patau syndromes can be calculated with a click of a button with accredited.
The risk of developing pre eclampsia can be determined and prevention started in high risk cases.
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