Category: Ultrasounds & Sonograms
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40 Weeks Of Fetal Development: Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4
<p>See what's happening with your baby in each month of your pregnancy.</p>
<p>By the editors of Parents magazine  </p>
<p>Week 1 </p>
<p>Because the date of ovulation is often difficult to pinpoint, medical experts usually use the first day of your last period as the official beginning of the 40 weeks of pregnancy, and as the starting point in calculating your baby's gestational age.</p>
<p>Therefore, the extraordinary process by which your baby comes to life actually begins with an utterly ordinary event--your monthly period. During your last period before conception, the groundwork for pregnancy is already being laid. The previous month's uterine lining, called the endometrium, is shed, along with some blood, resulting in menstrual flow. Meanwhile, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) kicks into gear, triggering the development of several ovarian follicles. Located deep in the ovary, these yellow bulbs each contain a single immature egg. As the bulbs grow, the eggs begin to mature. The follicles also signal the ovary to produce estrogen, a key hormone in bringing about ovulation.</p>


<p>Week 2 </p>


<p>Inside their comfy ovarian follicles, the eggs, each of which contains half the genes needed to create a human being, are maturing, ballooning to over three times their original size. Hormones continue to do their work: rising levels of estrogen trigger a surge of luteinizing hormone, or LH. This rush of LH causes the largest of the developing follicles to rupture, spewing its egg into one of two fallopian tubes. Ovulation, as this big event is known, usually happens around day 14 to 18. If you're trying to conceive, it helps to have a good idea of when your ovulation will occur -- the prime time for intercourse is the two days before and the day of ovulation.</p>
<p>So what happens when you and your partner are busy making babies? On average, about 350 million sperm spew forth from the man's body during an ejaculation. But during intercourse, only about 1 percent, or 3 million, will make their way through the uterus to the fallopian tube, where the egg is waiting. The sperm may need about ten hours to make this journey, struggling through thin channels in the cervical mucus, propelled by lashings of their tiny tails. Sperm have been known to survive anywhere from two to five days inside a woman's body, but the egg is viable only for approximately 12 to 24 hours after ovulation. Clearly, in the conception game, timing is everything. The window of opportunity is narrow, and that's why even the healthiest couples have about a 15 to 20 percent chance of conceiving each month they try.</p>



 


<p>Week 3 </p>
<p>You and your partner may have finished your baby-making endeavors by now, but inside your body, the action has just begun. Of the original 300 million-plus sperm, just 250 have found their way to the right spot: the mature egg. The fertilization of the egg begins when one lucky sperm penetrates the egg's tough outer membrane. It takes about twenty minutes for the sperm to completely pierce this "shell." Within the following eleven hours, the sperm's nucleus merges with the nucleus of the egg. With this momentous melding of genetic goodies, fertilization is complete. The egg becomes a zygote, the first step in its journey toward babyhood.</p>
<p>The zygote then begins to drift down the fallopian tube toward the uterus. Along the way, its single cell splits into two cells, then four, and so on, dividing about every 12 hours. About four days after fertilization, when it has about sixteen cells and looks like a tiny raspberry, the cluster, now called a morula, jostles its way along the narrowest part of the fallopian tube and finally enters the uterus, which is primed to receive it. A hormonal brew of estrogen and progesterone (the latter produced by the ruptured ovarian follicle) has triggered the growth of a nutrient-rich bed of blood vessels, the perfect home for the yet-to-be-hatched embryo.</p>

<p>Week 4 
<p>The fertilized egg has seen a whole lot of growth in the days since it was first penetrated by that single adventurous sperm. And this week, safe inside the uterus, it's changing yet again. A cavity forms its center, and two groups of cells form on its sides: one group will become the embryo, and the other will become the placenta. Meanwhile, the amniotic fluid is collecting, and the yolk sac, which will nourish the embryo in its earliest days, is forming. At this stage, the morula becomes a blastocyst.</p>
<p>About six or seven days after fertilization, the blastocyst "hatches," tumbling out of its surrounding membrane so its growing mass of cells can more easily bond with the uterus. Using "fingers," called chorionic villi, the blastocyst anchors itself in the lush uterine lining (the ideal implantation site is the back wall of the uterus, toward the mother's spine). This watershed event marks the real start of incubation, as this tiny speck of living matter--now called an embryo--and its mother become linked together, sharing hormones and other essential fluids.
Because hormones from the embryo are now flowing through your bloodstream, a blood test taken at now would very likely detect the pregnancy, even though it's still a week to ten days before your period has been missed.</p>
<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. http://www.meredith.com, All rights reserved.</em></p>
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40 Weeks Of Fetal Development: Weeks 18, 19, 20, 21
<p>See what's happening with your baby in each month of your pregnancy.</p>
<p>By the editors of Parents magazine  </p>

<p>Week 18</p>
<p>The unique swirls and whorls that are your baby's fingerprints begin to appear at the tips of her fingers this week. Her hands begin to make grasping motions, and she might even start sucking her thumb. This self-soothing habit can stick around into a child's toddlerhood and beyond, but all kids give it up eventually.</p>
<p>The placenta, that all-important nurturing organ, is now almost as big as the baby herself. Besides providing her with a steady diet of nutrients and oxygen, this dark blobby mass also receives waste products from the fetus's blood and deposits them in the mother's blood. The waste is then filtered out by the mother's kidneys.</p>


<p>Week 19</p>
<p>Welcome to the fifth month of pregnancy! Here's proof that life is an endless cycle: less than half a year ago your baby was just an egg herself, but by now, if she's a girl, she's got eggs of her own. As of this week, a female fetus's ovaries have already developed the tiny follicles that hold all the eggs she'll ever have -- as many as six million. Some of her ovarian follicles may even develop and grow, thanks to those supercharged female hormones flowing from mother to baby. But these tiny eggs, or ova, never develop to the point of ovulation. That won't happen for years and years yet- not until your little girl reaches puberty.</p>
<p>Throughout baby's body, nerves are being coated with a fatty substance called myelin, which insulates the nerves so that impulses can flow smoothly. The touch of a soft blanket, the sound of your voice: all of these things will be carried by these speedy paths from sensory organs to brain.</p>


<p>Week 20</p>
<p>Send up a cheer, pop a bottle of sparkling grape juice- you and your baby have reached the halfway point of pregnancy. What follows is a time of dramatic growth for your little one, who, on average, now measures up to 8 inches long from head to rump, and weighs in at a whopping one pound. He's come a long way since his days as a microscopic speck, but he's still got a lot of growing to do: at birth, the average newbornis 18 to 21 inches long and weighs 6 to 9 pounds.</p>
<p>The fetal heartbeat is growing stronger now. In the latter part of the second trimester, its distinctive whoosh whoosh can be detected with a simple at-home monitoring device (available at some drugstores). The baby's heart beats rapidly -- about twice as fast as his mother's heart.</p>

<p>Week 21</p>
<p>What does a baby dream about in the womb? This intriguing question arises in the coming weeks as your baby's sleep patterns begin to emerge (though, according to most research, dreaming may not begin until around week 28). When is your little one snoozing? You might be able to tell if her movements show a marked slow-down at certain times of the day. Some scientists suggest that your eating and sleeping habits and the levels of light and noise around you function as signals and help baby set her internal clock to match the outside world's even before birth.  </p>
<p>At this point in its development, the baby's brain begins to grow very quickly, especially in what's called the germinal matrix. This structure deep in the middle of the brain serves as a kind of factory for brain cells and disappears shortly before birth. But the brain's amazing expansion program continues, as its capacity constantly grows until the age of five years.</p>

<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. http://www.meredith.com, All rights reserved.</em></p>
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What does my belly size mean?
<p>My doctor told me that my stomach is measuring large. Should I be worried?</p>
 

<p>Pregnant bellies are measured in centimeters -- usually starting around 20 weeks -- and there's a simple formula for calculating how large your tummy should be at any given point in your pregnancy. Start with the number of weeks you're pregnant, then add two to that number and also subtract two from that number, which will give you the range your belly should be within. For example, if you're 30 weeks pregnant your belly should be between 28 and 32 centimeters. If you're 25 weeks along, your belly should measure between 23 and 27 centimeters.</p>
<p>There are a variety of reasons why your belly could be measuring large, like swelling or fluid retention (a common problem during pregnancy) or simply being a bigger woman before you became pregnant. The most serious cause of having a too-large tummy, however, is gestational diabetes. When a woman develops diabetes during pregnancy, her baby receives too much sugar, causing him to be bigger than he normally would. This can also cause excess amniotic fluid, which increases belly size too.</p>
<p>If your doctor is concerned about your belly, he or she will order an ultrasound to check on your baby. The ultrasound will measure the circumference around your baby's stomach and head as well as the length of her legs to see if there may be a problem. Your doctor will also likely check for gestational diabetes with a glucose tolerance test, if you haven't already had one.</p>
<p>Should you have gestational diabetes, your doctor will put you on a diet to cut out excess sugar and, if necessary, will prescribe medication. Although gestational diabetes can be serious if left unchecked, most women with the disease give birth to healthy babies, and after that the condition usually goes away. </p>
<p>Lastly, know that friends and family (and even total strangers) love to discuss the size of a pregnant woman's belly. If you're upset by anyone's comments on yours, try to ignore them. It's your doctor's job to monitor your pregnancy and unless she's concerned about your belly size, no one else should be.</p>

<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. http://www.meredith.com. All rights reserved. </em></p>
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Fetal Ultrasound
<img src="http://images.newscred.com/48ff211dced22995e2c667ece4357039" height="333" width="500">

<font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;"><br><br>From Mayo Clinic</span><br><br>A fetal ultrasound, or sonogram, is an imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of a baby in the uterus.
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Fetal ultrasound images can help your health care provider evaluate your baby's growth and development and determine how your pregnancy is progressing. A fetal ultrasound might also give you the chance to study your baby's profile months before delivery. In some cases, fetal ultrasound is used to evaluate possible problems or confirm a diagnosis.
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Fetal ultrasound is often done during the first trimester to confirm and date the pregnancy and again during the second trimester — between 18 and 20 weeks — when anatomic details are visible. If your baby's health needs to be monitored more closely, ultrasounds might be repeated throughout the pregnancy.
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A 2-D fetal ultrasound can help your health care provider evaluate your baby's growth and development.
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A 3-D fetal ultrasound can provide images of a developing baby with photo-quality details.</span></font><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Why it's done</span></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">A fetal ultrasound can be done at any point during pregnancy. Your health care provider might use a fetal ultrasound to:</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Confirm the pregnancy and its location. Some embryos develop in the fallopian tube instead of in the uterus. A fetal ultrasound can help your health care provider detect a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Determine your baby's gestational age. Knowing the baby's age can help your health care provider determine your due date and track various milestones throughout your pregnancy.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Confirm the number of babies.If your health care provider suspects a multiple pregnancy, an ultrasound might be done to confirm the number of babies.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Evaluate your baby's growth.Your health care provider can use ultrasound to determine whether your baby is growing at a normal rate. Ultrasound can be used to monitor your baby's movement, breathing and heart rate as well.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Study the placenta and amniotic fluid levels.The placenta provides your baby with vital nutrients and oxygen-rich blood. Too much or too little amniotic fluid — the fluid that surrounds the baby in the uterus during pregnancy — or complications with the placenta need special attention.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Identify birth defects. An ultrasound can help your health care provider detect various birth defects.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Investigate signs or symptoms. If you're bleeding or having other complications, an ultrasound might help your health care provider determine the cause.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Perform other prenatal tests.Your health care provider might use ultrasound to guide needle placement during certain prenatal tests, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Determine fetal position before delivery. A C-section might be needed if the baby is in an abnormal position.Fetal ultrasound isn't recommended simply to determine a baby's sex — but it might be a bonus for curious parents when an ultrasound is done for medical reasons. Similarly, fetal ultrasound isn't recommended solely for the purpose of producing keepsake videos or pictures.
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If your health care provider doesn't suggest a fetal ultrasound but you'd like the reassurance the exam can provide, share your wishes as you work together to determine what's best for you and your baby.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Risks</span></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Routine fetal ultrasounds are considered safe for both mother and baby. Researchers haven't noted any adverse effects of fetal ultrasounds in children followed for several years after birth.
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Still, caution remains important. The use of fetal ultrasound solely to create keepsakes isn't recommended.
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Fetal ultrasound also has limitations. Fetal ultrasound might not detect all birth defects — or might incorrectly suggest a birth defect is present when it's not.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">How you prepare</span></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">You might be asked to drink a certain amount of fluid or avoid urinating before a fetal ultrasound, depending on the type of ultrasound. When scheduling your ultrasound, ask your health care provider for specific instructions.
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Also be aware that fetal ultrasound can be done through the vagina (transvaginal) or over the abdomen (transabdominal), depending on why it's being done or the stage of your pregnancy. If you're having a transabdominal ultrasound, consider wearing loosefitting clothing so that you can easily expose your abdomen.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">What you can expect</span></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">There are two main types of fetal ultrasound exams:&nbsp;</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Transvaginal ultrasound. </span>With this type of fetal ultrasound, a wand-like transducer is placed in your vagina to send out sound waves and gather the reflections. Transvaginal ultrasounds are used most often during early pregnancy, when the uterus and fallopian tubes are closer to the vagina than to the abdominal surface.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Transabdominal ultrasound.</span> A transabdominal fetal ultrasound is done by moving a transducer — a small plastic device that sends and receives sound waves — over your abdomen. This type of fetal ultrasound helps your health care provider determine your baby's gestational age and evaluate your baby's growth and development. The exam usually takes about 20 minutes.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Various other types of transabdominal ultrasounds are available, including:</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Specialized or targeted ultrasound.</span> This type of fetal ultrasound targets a suspected problem and uses more sophisticated equipment than does a standard fetal ultrasound. The exam might take from 30 minutes to several hours.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">3-D ultrasound.</span> A 3-D fetal ultrasound can provide images of a baby with photo-quality details. This type of ultrasound is sometimes used to help health care providers evaluate a baby's growth and development, as well as detect facial abnormalities or neural tube defects.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Doppler ultrasound.</span> A Doppler ultrasound measures slight changes in the ultrasound waves as they bounce off moving objects, such as blood cells. A Doppler ultrasound can provide details about a baby's circulation.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Fetal echocardiography.</span> This type of fetal ultrasound provides a detailed picture of a baby's heart. It might be used to confirm or rule out a congenital heart defect.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">During the exam</span></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">During a transabdominal fetal ultrasound, you'll recline on an exam table and expose your abdomen. Your health care provider or technician will apply a special gel to your abdomen. This will improve the conduction of sound waves and eliminate air between your skin and the transducer — the small plastic device that sends out sound waves and receives those that bounce back.
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Your health care provider or technician will move the transducer back and forth over your abdomen. The sound waves reflected off your bones and other tissues will be converted into black-and-white or gray images on a monitor.
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Your health care provider or technician will measure your baby's head, abdomen, thighbone and other structures. He or she might print or store certain images to document important structures. You'll likely be given copies of some of the images.
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Depending on your baby's position and stage of development, you might be able to make out a face, hands and fingers, or arms and legs. Don't worry if you can't "see" your baby. Ultrasound images can be hard for an untrained observer to decipher. Ask your health care provider or technician to explain what's on the screen.
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The procedure for other types of fetal ultrasound exams is similar. If you're having a transvaginal ultrasound, however, you'll be asked to change into a hospital gown or undress from the waist down. You'll recline on an exam table and place your feet in stirrups. Your health care provider or technician will place a lubricated transducer in your vagina rather than moving it across your abdomen.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">After the exam</span></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">You can wipe off any residual gel or lubricant. If you had a full bladder during the ultrasound, you'll be able to urinate after the exam.</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Results</span></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Typically, a fetal ultrasound offers reassurance that a baby is growing and developing normally. If your health care provider wants more details about your baby's health, he or she might recommend additional tests.
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A 2-D fetal ultrasound can help your health care provider evaluate your baby's growth and development.
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A 3-D fetal ultrasound can provide images of a developing baby with photo-quality details.&nbsp;</span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></div><div style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br><br>
©1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved.<br>Terms of Use.<br><br>Image: Getty Images</span></font><br></div>
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Prenatal Testing: Is It Right for You?
<img src="http://images.newscred.com/117fcda63eb0b8ac98f86035d8cf3f2e" height="333" width="500">
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<font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">From Mayo Clinic</span><br><br></span></font><div class="nc_section">
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Pregnancy is a time of great anticipation — and anxiety.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">You might be wondering if you'll experience complications or if your 
baby will have health problems. Take comfort in the fact that most 
babies are born healthy. Still, you might want details about your baby's
 health beyond what your health care provider can observe.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Enter prenatal testing.</span></font></p>
</div><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><div class="nc_section">
<h2><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Types of prenatal testing</span></font></h2>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Prenatal testing includes both screening tests and diagnostic tests:</span></font></p>
<ul><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>Screening tests.</strong> Prenatal screening tests can 
identify whether your baby is more likely to have certain conditions — 
but they usually can't make a definitive diagnosis. General screening 
tests, such as blood tests and ultrasounds, are routine in most 
pregnancies. Specific screening tests, such as first and second 
trimester screening for abnormal chromosomes, also might be offered. 
Screening tests pose no risks for mother or baby.</span></font></li><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>Diagnostic tests.</strong> If a screening test indicates a 
possible problem — or your age, family history or medical history puts 
you at increased risk of having a baby with a genetic problem — you 
might consider a more invasive prenatal diagnostic test. A diagnostic 
test is the only way to be sure of a diagnosis. Some diagnostic tests, 
such as chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis, carry a slight risk 
of miscarriage.</span></font></li></ul>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Despite these clear definitions, recent changes in technology have 
blurred the line between traditional screening and diagnostic tests.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">For example, a new blood test for Down syndrome is now available in 
some areas. The test analyzes fetal DNA circulating in a mother's 
bloodstream. If a traditional screening test indicates a high risk of 
Down syndrome, the new blood test can define the risk more clearly. 
Although it isn't considered a diagnostic test, a normal result might 
eliminate the need for more invasive diagnostic testing.</span></font></p>
</div><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><div class="nc_section">
<h2><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Questions to consider</span></font></h2>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Prenatal screening tests for fetal abnormalities are optional. It's 
important to make an informed decision about prenatal testing, 
especially if you're screening for fetal conditions that can't be 
treated.</span></font></p>
<ul><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>What will you do with the test results?</strong> Normal 
results can ease your anxiety. However, if prenatal testing indicates 
that your baby might have a birth defect, you could be faced with 
wrenching decisions — such as whether to continue the pregnancy. On the 
other hand, you might welcome the opportunity to plan for your baby's 
care in advance.</span></font></li><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>Will the information shape your prenatal care?</strong> Some
 prenatal tests detect problems that can be treated during pregnancy. In
 other cases, prenatal testing alerts your health care provider to a 
condition that requires immediate treatment after birth.</span></font></li><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>How accurate are the results?</strong> Prenatal testing isn't perfect. The rate of false-negative and false-positive results varies from test to test.</span></font></li><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>What are the risks?</strong> Weigh the risks of specific 
prenatal tests — such as anxiety, pain or possible miscarriage — against
 the value of knowing the results.</span></font></li><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>What is the expense?</strong> Insurance coverage for 
prenatal testing varies. If the test you're considering isn't covered by
 your insurance plan, are you willing and able to cover the cost of the 
test on your own?</span></font></li></ul>
</div><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><div class="nc_section">
<h2><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The decision is yours</span></font></h2>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Prenatal testing can provide information that influences your 
prenatal care. Remember, though, some screening tests introduce the need
 for careful personal decisions. Ultimately, the decision to pursue 
prenatal testing is up to you.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">If you're concerned about prenatal testing, discuss the risks and 
benefits with your health care provider. You might also meet with a 
genetic counselor for a more thorough evaluation.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">A genetic counselor can help you understand:</span></font></p>
<ul><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The odds of your baby developing a particular condition</span></font></li><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">How the condition would impact your baby's life, including your baby's physical and mental development and quality of life</span></font></li><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Possible treatment options, either during pregnancy or after birth</span></font></li></ul>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Taking the time to evaluate your options will help you make the best decision for you and your baby.</span></font></p><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></p>
</div><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">©1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/terms-of-use/AM00021">Terms of Use.</a></span></font></p><br><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Image: Getty Images</span></font><br>


<img src="http://pixel.newscred.com/px.gif?key=YXJ0aWNsZT0yNDcwZDU0NTYwZmEzNTJkZjZmZWJiZjlhMzBhYmMyMiZub25jZT0xNjllYjI2Yy0wOTJhLTQ2YzItYmUwYi02MTI5NjZmODMwZGQmcHVibGlzaGVyPWVmOTYwNjg3Zjk3ODMwMmFlYzk1YTcwOWY2NTI1ZmNi/"></div>
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Prenatal Testing: Quick Guide to Common Tests
<img src="http://images.newscred.com/9ca40f89c5dd1ca3e0a3fd4cdd586343" height="333" width="500">

<br>&nbsp;<div>&nbsp;
<font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">From Mayo Clinic</span><br><br></span></font><div class="nc_section">
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Prenatal testing is offered in most pregnancies. Here's an overview of common prenatal screening tests:</span></font></p>
<div>
<table border="1" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="0">
<tbody>
<tr>
<th width="25%"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">What it is</span></font></th>
<th width="25%"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">When it's done</span></font></th>
<th width="25%"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">What the results might tell you</span></font></th>
<th width="25%"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Follow-up</span></font></th>
</tr>
<tr>
<td colspan="4"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>Noninvasive prenatal testing</strong></span></font></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Blood test</span></font></td>
<td><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">As early as week 10 in high-risk groups</span></font></td>
<td><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Risk of Down syndrome (trisomy 21) and certain other chromosomal conditions</span></font></td>
<td><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Possible chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis</span></font></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td colspan="4"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>First trimester screening</strong></span></font></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Blood test and ultrasound</span></font></td>
<td><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">11-14 weeks</span></font></td>
<td><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Risk of Down syndrome (trisomy 21) or Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18)</span></font></td>
<td><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Possible chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis</span></font></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td colspan="4"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>Quad screen</strong></span></font></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Blood test</span></font></td>
<td><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">15-20 weeks</span></font></td>
<td><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Risk of Down syndrome or spina bifida</span></font></td>
<td><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Possible targeted ultrasound, chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis</span></font></td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>
</div>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Some health care providers choose to combine the results of first 
trimester screening with the quad screen — although you won't learn the 
final results of this sequential testing until both tests are completed 
and analyzed.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">In addition, fetal ultrasound often plays an important role in 
prenatal care. Early in pregnancy, ultrasound can be used to confirm and
 date a pregnancy. Later, ultrasound can be used for many things — such 
as checking a baby's well-being, monitoring a baby's growth and 
development, and detecting certain birth defects.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Blood tests and ultrasounds pose no risks for you or your baby. If 
the results of a blood test or ultrasound are positive or worrisome, 
your health care provider might recommend a more invasive diagnostic 
test — such as chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis. These tests 
provide more detailed or definitive information, but they carry a slight
 risk of pregnancy loss.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">If you're concerned about prenatal testing or wonder whether you need
 specific screening or diagnostic tests, discuss the risks and benefits 
with your health care provider.</span></font></p>
</div><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></p><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">©1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/terms-of-use/AM00021">Terms of Use.</a></span></font></p><br><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Image: Getty Images</span></font><br>


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My 20-Week Ultrasound

By Lacy Stroessner, Disney Baby


You’d think that being pregnant for the third time, I’d be more relaxed. You’d think I’d be an expert on all things pregnancy and childbirth and that I wouldn’t have a single worry. But the truth is, this third time has been the most nerve-wrecking pregnancy of them all…

With pregnancy comes some irrational fear that everything is going to go wrong. When you know just how detailed and intricate the making of a baby is, it seems like something (even something minor) would mess up along the way. With two healthy pregnancies and two healthy babies ahead of me, I thought that this pregnancy, this third baby, would surely be the problematic one. Surely something would go wrong this time.

When I had my 20-week ultrasound, I was a nervous wreck. My palms were sweaty. My body was jittery. And instead of being a Chatty Cathy like I usually am, I laid there in silence, holding my husband’s hand. As the ultrasound technician rolled her wand over my belly, she pointed out all of the parts. Here’s the brain. Here’s the different sections of her brain. Here’s her eyes. Her nose. Her chest. Her heart. The 4 chambers of her heart… She went on and on and on, commenting on how perfect and “just fine” our little baby was.

“From what I can tell here, your baby is right on track, developing and healthy,” she said.

What a relief! I couldn’t believe it. All of my fears and worries were pointless. This little babe was doing well, just as she should. Before we left, my husband and I wanted to find out the sex of our baby. We found out with the other 2 and felt like we had to this time around, as well.

Since I have two daughters already, I had hoped and assumed that we’d be welcoming a baby boy into our family. If our odds alone weren’t enough, I kept reminding myself that in my family, there have been 7 girls born in the past 4 years. No boys. 7 girls. Surely the chances of a boy would be in our favor.

“It’s another little girl,” she said.

I was shocked! And quite honestly, a little bit relieved. Even though I thought I wanted a boy this time around, the thought of having 3 daughters sort of melted me. I had 2 daughters already and 1 more would make our family complete.

There’s nothing like becoming a mother and welcoming a new baby into your world. All at once you are filled with anxiety and hope beyond measure…


Lacy is a wife, mom, teacher, and dreamer, determined to live a BIG life in a simple way. She writes at Living on Love where she shares inspiration for doing just that. From great recipes and fun projects to adventures in the outdoors and experiences in parenting, Lacy believes in living a meaningful life on a daily basis. In addition to her blog, you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.


Image: Getty Images
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5 Myths About Prenatal Screening
<img src="http://images.newscred.com/26adb459a068fbf425b13af15171f53c" height="333" width="500">
<font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;"><br>By Women's Health Team, Cleveland Clinic</span><br><br></span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Pregnancy often comes with mixed emotions. For every moment of anticipation, there may be a moment of anxiety.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">For some women, anxiety rises with prenatal genetic screenings — 
tests that can help identify genetic abnormalities before a baby’s 
birth.&nbsp;<a href="http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?doctorid=7447">Rocio Moran, MD</a>, a clinical geneticist in Cleveland Clinic’s&nbsp;<a href="http://my.clevelandclinic.org/genomics-genetics/about-us/default.aspx">Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare</a>, understands those fears. Part of alleviating them is separating myth from reality.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><h3><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Myth: Every pregnancy needs prenatal genetic screenings</span></font></h3><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Certain tests — ultrasound and serum screening, for example — are 
available for all pregnant women. But some screenings are recommended 
only for high-risk pregnancies. If you are 35 or older, if you have had 
an abnormal ultrasound or blood screening, or if you have a family 
history of birth defects or genetic disorders, you may be high-risk.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">You don’t have to figure it out on your own, though. “A genetic 
counselor is part of the medical team that helps individuals form 
testing strategies they are comfortable with,” Dr. Moran says. “It’s 
really based on each individual woman.”</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><h3><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Myth: All screenings are invasive</span></font></h3><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Some prenatal tests —&nbsp;amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling 
(also known as CVS) — are invasive and come with a risk of miscarriage. 
But thanks to newer noninvasive prenatal testing, many women won’t need 
those invasive tests at all.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">“It’s a real improvement,” Dr. Moran says. “New technology finds 
abnormalities using only maternal blood.” Currently, the screening 
identifies pregnancies at risk for abnormalities only in certain 
chromosome numbers: trisomy 13, trisomy 18, trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) 
and sex chromosome disorders. If you want to learn more about whether 
this screening is right for you, consult a counselor.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">“Labeling a child before birth is not the goal, but providing you and
 your medical team with as much information as possible is.”</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><h3><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Myth: All genetic abnormalities lead to disease</span></font></h3><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Not all findings are as serious as trisomy 13 or trisomy 18. “We all 
carry variations in our genetic material. Some of those variations or 
genetic changes may only increase your risk of having a particular 
disorder,” Dr. Moran says. A counselor can help you understand what 
genetics can tell you — and what it can’t.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">“Labeling a child before birth is not the goal,” she says,&nbsp;“but 
providing you and your medical team with as much information as possible
 is.”</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><h3><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Myth: A negative result means a healthy baby</span></font></h3><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Tests can find more abnormalities than ever before. But they can’t 
find everything. “Particularly in a high-risk situation, if a test comes
 back normal, it means that it is unlikely your child will have one of 
the disorders the test covers,” Dr. Moran says. However, it doesn’t rule
 out all abnormalities or genetic syndromes.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">That is a tough message for a lot of parents. Counselors and 
geneticists are open and honest, but they also provide reassurance. 
Although genetic screenings can uncover frightening information, “the 
reality is that the majority of women go on to have healthy babies,” Dr.
 Moran says.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><h3><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Myth: The results can’t help you</span></font></h3><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The information — even bad news — can help you manage your pregnancy.
 For example, if a test comes back positive for Down syndrome, your 
doctors can be prepared for a higher-risk pregnancy and help screen for 
associated conditions. Parents can then plan to deliver at a center that
 is prepared to care for a child with complex medical needs.&nbsp;</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">

</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">“We know this can be scary for women,” Dr. Moran says, “but we really
 want to empower them. Your genetic information can help you — and us — 
make more personalized medical decisions.”</span></font></p><p><br><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"></span></font></p><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Image: Getty Images<br></span></font></p><br>

<img src="http://pixel.newscred.com/px.gif?key=YXJ0aWNsZT1kZmY2NDAxNjU0ODNhMjU3ZWY2MTYyMjMwOTc1MDMzNSZub25jZT1jOTFjNDRmOC1jZDBlLTQ2NTEtYjNkYy0zNGZhYzcwMWVhMDAmcHVibGlzaGVyPWVmOTYwNjg3Zjk3ODMwMmFlYzk1YTcwOWY2NTI1ZmNi/">
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To Know or Not to Know: Gender at 20 Weeks
<font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">By Jeana Lee Tahnk
</span></span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
	    Ah, the 20-week ultrasound, when the baby's gender finally can be revealed! Even though I have always been in the<em> don't-want-to-find-out</em>
 camp, it's still an exciting appointment when the full anatomy scan is 
done and you can find out whether to break out the blue or pink.
</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
	    With all my pregnancies, I have been pretty steadfast in not 
wanting to know the baby's gender. I loved the mystery of who was inside
 of me, wondering if it was a boy or a girl and thinking about what the 
baby would look like (this was also before the days of the 3D 
ultrasound).
</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
	    And there was enough anticipation around each ultrasound that gender seemed to take a back seat. I was a worrywart: <em>Will I hear the heartbeat? Is the baby growing? Is the baby developing normally? </em></span></font>
</p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
	    I still recall those appointments so clearly. Lying on that table 
with the crinkly paper underneath, feeling the warm gooey gel on my 
belly and looking up at the grainy black and white screen and having no 
clue as to what I was looking at, and wondering with every pass of the 
wand, if I'd accidentally see the baby's gender.
</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
	    With any pregnancy, often the first question you're asked is, "What
 are you having?" Nine times out of 10, I'd be met with surprise when I 
said I didn't know. The ultrasound technicians also would confirm that I
 was in the minority when I prefaced each scan with, "Don't tell me the 
gender!"
</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
	    It's funny because when it comes to finding out your baby's gender, there are people who <em>need</em>
 to know and others, like me, who prefer to wait. I didn't have any kind
 of pressing desire to know for nursery-planning or wardrobe-buying 
purposes. You can imagine how many lime green and yellow onesies I got 
at my baby shower.
</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
	   Learning the baby's gender is a surprise, whether it's at 20 weeks 
or when the baby is born. In the case of my first — when I was truly 
surprised by the gender  — hearing my husband announce, "It's a boy!" 
was so awesome. And even with kids  No. 2 and No. 3 when my hunches were
 right, being able to see those squishy baby faces for the first time 
were moments I'll never forget. <br></span></font></p><p><br><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"></span></font></p><h1><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Read More by Jeana Lee Tahnk</span></font></h1><p><a href="https://www.mommyanswers.huggies.com/article/Its_Positive_Breaking_the_News_to_My_Husband"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">'It's Positive!' Breaking the News to My Husband</span></font></a></p><p><a href="https://www.mommyanswers.huggies.com/article/Diaper_Bag_Tips_and_Tricks"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Diaper Bag Tips and Tricks</span></font></a></p>
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