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At 14 weeks of pregnancy, the mother-to-be has already entered the second trimester. By this time morning sickness, fatigue, and other unpleasant symptoms disappear. The pregnant belly starts to show. The baby is fully formed by now, measuring around 8.5cm and weighing about 42gm. The doctor may recommend an ultrasound scan at 14 weeks to make sure that the baby is healthy, and the development is normal.
Why You Need 14 Week Ultrasound?
All pregnant women desire to see how their baby is growing in the womb. And to ensure the proper growth of the baby, doctors recommend an ultrasound from time to time. Here is why an ultrasound becomes necessary at week 14 of pregnancy:
- To see the baby moving: At 14 weeks, you will be able to see that the baby moves her hands and feet a lot more and she may even suck her thumb.
- To Monitor the Heart Rate: At 14 Weeks, the sonographer will monitor the baby’s heart rate to make sure it is functioning normally. You can also hear the baby’s heartbeat if a Doppler ultrasound is done. This scan measures the rate of blood flowing through the umbilical cord and in other parts of the baby’s body.
- To Check the Growth of the Bones: At 14 weeks, the bones begin to harden in a process called ossification. You will be able to see the bones glowing white on the ultrasound than in the first-trimester scan. The technician will check to ensure that bone growth is normal.
- To Monitor Organ Function: All the organs of the baby are completely formed at 14 weeks and begin working. The doctor will make sure the kidneys, liver, heart, and brain are properly formed and are functioning properly.
- To See Facial Expressions: At 14 weeks, the baby’s brain is more developed than in the first trimester. She will be able to move her facial muscles to form expressions like frowns, smiles, or grimaces. You will be able to see these facial expressions on the ultrasound.
- To Check for Birth Defects: The ultrasound technician will check the developing baby for signs of birth defects and congenital abnormalities.
- To Monitor Amniotic Fluid Level: The 14-week pregnancy ultrasound is also done to make sure that there are adequate levels of amniotic fluid in the womb for the healthy development of the baby.
- To Confirm Multiple Pregnancies: An ultrasound at this stage will also confirm if you are pregnant with twins or triplets.
How to Prepare for Your 14 Weeks Scan?
An abdominal ultrasound requires your bladder to be full as this helps the sonographer get clearer images of the baby. Drink a few glasses of water about 30 to 45 minutes before your scan so that your bladder is full during the ultrasound. You can also prepare to ask questions about the health and development of your baby.
How Long Does Fourteenth Week Pregnancy Ultrasound Scan Take to Complete?
An ultrasound at 14 weeks for a single pregnancy will take about 20 to 30 minutes. It may take longer if you are pregnant with multiples or if the baby is in a position where the internal organs and limbs are not clearly visible.
How Is This Scan Performed?
You will need to lay down on the examination table and expose your belly. The sonographer will squirt some clear, water-based gel on your belly and abdomen and uses the ultrasound transducer to get images of your baby on a monitor. In some cases, the scan may be done transvaginally, where a probe is inserted into the vagina to get clearer images of the foetus. This is not painful and produces the most reliable images.
What can be Seen on the Ultrasound?
The baby at 14 weeks ultrasound is about the size of a lime or peach. Here is what you can see on the 14-week ultrasound:
- The baby’s bones begin to harden, so they look bigger and brighter on the scan.
- The baby moves her hands and feet around a lot, and you may even see her suck her thumb.
- You can see and hear the baby’s heart beating.
- You can see fingers, toes, nails, and hair clearly.
- The genitalia is well developed by now, though the technician is not allowed to disclose the gender of the baby in India.
- The baby has her own unique fingerprints now, though you cannot see them on the ultrasound scan.
- The baby has facial expressions now, and you can see her smile, frown, or grimace.
- The skin will no longer look transparent and is covered with lanugo, which is fine baby hair. The lanugo helps the foetus maintain constant body temperature.
- The baby now has eyebrows, hair, and well-proportioned arms, and they are visible in the ultrasound.
- The neck of the baby would have grown, causing her chin to lift up from her chest.
- The ears and eyes are nearly in the place where they should be at birth. The eyes are still firmly closed and do not open until the week of pregnancy.
What if Any Abnormalities are Detected?
At the 14 weeks foetal ultrasound, if any abnormalities are detected, the doctor will advise you to go for further testing to confirm the abnormality. The doctor may recommend tests like foetal echocardiography if she suspects heart defects. The doctor may even recommend Amniocentesis, blood tests, or Chorionic Villi Sampling to detect genetic disorders. If the test confirms any abnormalities, the doctor will advise you on all the options available to you and the further course of action to be taken.
The ultrasound at 14 weeks of pregnancy helps make sure that the baby is healthy and growing well. For mothers-to-be who have not had the nuchal translucency scan (NTS) in the first trimester, this is the last chance to do the NTS as the skin of the neck does not remain transparent after 14 weeks. By 14 weeks of pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage reduces, and the baby begins to grow and develop at a steady rate.