|

Your 20-Week Ultrasound Scan

In This Article:

Markers for Down syndrome

Although ultrasound at this stage is not a reliable way to detect Down syndrome, it can pick up certain signs known as "soft markers" that may suggest that your baby has an increased risk of Down syndrome. However, many markers are very common and are not usually a cause for alarm unless you already have an increased risk for Down syndrome, for example, because you are over 35 years of age, or were given a high risk from a previous screening test. Common markers include a bright spot in your baby's heart, seen in about 1-2 percent of normal babies; extra fluid in your baby's kidneys; short leg or arm bones; thickened neck skin (nuchal fold); and bright (echogenic) fetal intestines.

Some specific abnormalities are linked with a far higher risk of Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities. These include certain kinds of heart defects and other major malformations, such as abnormalities in the spleen.

What happens next

If the sonographer detects soft markers, he or she will discuss the findings and may suggest a diagnostic test, especially if you already have an increased risk of Down syndrome. However, an earlier all-clear from a diagnostic test means that you can be confident your baby's chromosomes are normal. If an obvious abnormality is seen, and you haven't had a diagnostic test, this will probably be strongly advised. Having information from the scan will help you decide whether you want to proceed with a test. Whatever your decision, any associated abnormalities will be monitored throughout your pregnancy.

Your baby's checkups

What the ultrasound looks at

During this scan, your baby's organs are examined in detail and therefore it can take a little longer to perform than previous scans. For most, the scan provides reassurance that their baby is developing normally. The following areas will be checked.

  • The brain, including the fluid-filled spaces inside the brain and the shape of the back of your baby's brain (cerebellum).
  • The spine, to check for spina bifida or other problems.
  • The upper lip, to check for cleft lip.
  • The heart, to rule out any major heart malformations. The heartbeat will be checked too.
  • The stomach and diaphragm.
  • The kidneys and bladder, making sure that both kidneys are present and there are no blockages or malformations.
  • The abdominal wall, to look for a defect, known as gastroschisis.
  • Your baby's limbs, to make sure there are no hand or feet malformations, such as club foot.
  • The umbilical cord, to check that this has a normal number of blood vessels.


 Previous   1   2   Next 

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
Buy this book now!

Pregnancy Day by Day

Tell us your due date to receive our daily newsletter and find out what is happening in this day of your pregnancy!

Already a member? Log-in here

Name of the Day

highlights

Teens and E-Cigarettes: 6 Things You Must Know
For the first time in a generation, tobacco use has risen among the nation's youth, due to the rising use of e-cigarettes. Learn more about the dangerous and addictive e-cigarette trend, and get tips to talk to your teen.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, brought to you by Galactic Hot Dogs.

Printable Lists of the Top 100 Baby Names
Need help with baby name ideas? Use our printable list of the top 100 girl names and top 100 boy names of 2015 to help you brainstorm and narrow down your favorites.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

© 2000-2015  Sandbox Networks, Inc. All Rights Reserved.