If you have never had an ultrasound during your pregnancy, then you additionally have to do some blood tests and exams. Your baby is developing more every day, and it is necessary to control his/her growth. So, at the 14th week of fetal development, it is the right time for the screening test. It will show if there is some genetic abnormality or disorder. Especially, if you have risk factors that have been proven to cause malformations. After interview and ultrasound, your doctor will recommend the test you have to undergo, if it is necessary.
Probably it isn’t your first ultrasound, so we are assuming that you know about the procedure during the ultrasound. The difference with the ultrasound at this stage is related to the position of your womb. It is higher now; therefore, you might not need to drink water before the examination. Your doctor will suggest you lay down, while he puts some gel on your tummy so that the transducer would glide across your stomach and make clear pictures on the screen. If you’re having trans-vaginal ultrasound, the transducer will be inside your vagina during the examination.
What Is Happening with the Baby at This Stage?
Baby is around 8.5 cm long and more than 40 g in weight. He/she is starting to take on the look of a real little person. The baby gained its own unique set of fingerprints. Its eyebrows are beginning to grow as well as the hair. The hair on the body; fine, thin hair, called lanugo; begins to cover all the baby’s body.
The sucking reflexes allow the baby to suck their thumb, due to the facial muscles which continue to grow, while the roof of the mouth is completing. Baby’s eyes and ears are almost in their final positions. You can see your baby frowning and grimacing its face. His neck is more distinct, while the body is growing faster than the head.
His kidneys are producing urine, and he/she is releasing the urine into the amniotic fluid. Your baby’s liver starts making bile, so as the spleen begins with the red blood cell production.
If it is a boy, his prostate continues with the grow, but if is a girl, her ovaries start to move into the pelvis. Finally, you can see the gender of you baby, but you have to know that it is possible to make a mistake when judging the gender. Therefore, it is recommended to wait a few weeks more.
Baby’s hands and feet are more flexible and active, as well as more in proportion with his/her body. Bones are harder, but the procedure of the ossification will continue until his adulthood. At this time, you still can’t feel his punches and kicks, but you can see it on the screen of ultrasound.
By Doppler ultrasound, you can see and hear your baby’s heartbeat. It is normal if they are around 150 bpm, at the 14th week. Also, you can see distinct chambers inside his little heart.
Screening Tests and Exams
At this week, your doctor might recommend having a triple screen test.
By testing the maternal serum, we check the fetal development, as well as some malformation, like the Down’s syndrome. The test often referred to as the quad screen or multiple marker screening. During the testing, four of the fetal proteins are being measured. Although it has an 80% to 85% detection rate for the Down syndrome, it is usually recommended if you started prenatal care later than it is advised.
Nuchal Scan Test
Your doctor should combine blood and Nuchal scan test if you haven’t already had a Nuchal scan test. The Nuchal Translucency is a measurement of a fluid at the back of the baby’s neck by an ultrasound. This only allows your doctor risk assessment of the Down syndrome, but it can’t show whether your baby has Down syndrome. So, if your baby has a higher risk of having Down syndrome, your doctor will suggest further testing, such as chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis. These tests will help you get a definitive diagnosis.
If you are older than 35 at the time of the first delivery or you have an abnormal first trimester or second-trimester screening test results, then it is recommended that you opt for this test. The procedure is invasive and a little unpleasant. The doctor will insert a needle through your abdomen and uterus so that he could extract a small amount of amniotic fluid. The analysis of the fluid shows a karyotype of your baby which is a picture of your baby’s chromosomes. That means it shows malformed chromosomes, as well as the normal ones. The risk of miscarriage due to amniocentesis is low, and the diagnose results are good, although some women do not want to undergo amniocentesis. Amniocentesis is recommended between 14th and 20th gestational week.
Chorionic Villus Sampling
Chorionic villi are formed from the fertilized egg; so, they have the same genetic material as the baby’s tissues. During the test, the doctor will take a small sample of the chorionic villi from the placenta. The sample can be taken through the cervix or the stomach. It recommended between 10th and 13th week of pregnancy. As you can see, it is earlier than the time for amniocentesis. The procedure identifies most of the genetic defects as well as amniocentesis. It also detects the gender of the fetus, so it can identify disorders that are linked with the gender as well.
Factors for Increased Risk of Malformations
- Your screening test indicates that your baby is at a higher risk for Down syndrome or another chromosomal problem.
- Your baby has a structural defect associated with a chromosomal problem, detected by an ultrasound.
- Gen of a recessive genetic disorder, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease, is found in you or your partner’s genetic material.
- Genetic problems in your family.
- Your age is higher than 35 years.
- Your previous pregnancy was with a child with genetic abnormalities or disorders.