Fetal growth and wellbeing scan (16 weeks to term)


Why have a growth and wellbeing scan?

A fetal growth and wellbeing scan can be undertaken from 16 weeks. This scan can give you reassurance that the baby has a heartbeat, is moving around (as it may be too early for you to feel it) and that it is growing normally. We are also able to give an opinion on the gender if you want us to and as well as check some of the baby’s anatomy.

To check the baby’s growth the Ultrasonographer will take measurements of the baby’s head, abdomen and femur (thigh). From these measurements we are also able to estimate your baby’s weight. This is particularly reassuring for mothers who have previously had a small baby. We can also assess the amniotic fluid (water surrounding the baby) to check there is not too much or too little and the position of your placenta.

A presentation scan is usually undertaken after 36 weeks as this will determine if the baby is in the correct position for delivery. There is still time for the baby to move after this but your Consultant or Midwife might want to discuss different delivery options with you.

How do I get the results?

During the scan the Ultrasonographer will show you the baby on the monitor and at the end will explain the findings of the scan with you.

After the scan all the information will be put into a report and the Ultrasonographer will explain what you should do or who you should see next in your pregnancy.

What is included with this scan?

We will give you a report and pictures to take home with you. Where possible and if you would like us to we will give you a 'free' 3D/4D scan of your baby but good pictures using this type of ultrasound are totally reliant on the baby’s position at this stage. We will not be able to scan you indefinitely due to safety reasons, however, we may give you an appointment to come back another day. See 3D/4D section for more details.

Recording on a mobile phone

We are happy for you to do some recording on your mobile phone, but we ask that you keep this for personal use and do not share it on social media. The Ultrasonographer will look at your baby before you start recording to check that it has a heartbeat and that there are no major problems. None of the Ultrasonographers will provide a running commentary, they will stay quiet whilst you are recording, and we request that you do not video the Ultrasonographer undertaking your examination.

Limitations of ultrasound

Ultrasound does have its limitations which might mean we get limited views of your baby. These usually occur if: You have a high BMI, if your bladder is not full enough, if you have a lot of gas in your bowel, if there is reduced fluid around your baby and if its face is covered by its hands, or if it is looking away.