Category: Ultrasounds & Sonograms
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Fetal Ultrasound
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<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?
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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
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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;">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
0
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"/>
0
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>
0
Report Backs Screenings for Early Detection of Congenital Heart Disease
By Abby Phillip

Congenital heart disease is the most common cause of death among newborns. And sadly, many parents find out in the delivery room that a child could suffer life-threatening and lifelong health issues, or days or weeks later at home when it may be too late to prevent the most serious problems.

To help doctors diagnose congenital heart disease earlier in the pregnancy and treat infants more effectively, the American Heart Association released guidelines Thursday that call for some women to be screened using advanced technologies such as fetal echocardiography.

"For most of us that take care of kids with congenital heart disease, the reason most people don't know about it is because it's not on the outside, it's on the inside," said Dr. Mary T. Donofrio, the lead researcher on the report and the director of the Fetal Heart Program and Critical Care Delivery Service at Children's National Medical Center.

"Fetal medicine becomes even more important. For these kids to stand a chance of surviving, they have to be identified early, right at birth, and get the care they need," she said in an interview.

For the first time, there are more adults with congenital heart disease than infants, which means that more babies with the problem are surviving into adulthood because of treatments and interventions that are available in utero or shortly after birth, Donofrio said.

For pregnant women, it starts with the ultrasound, which can detect fetal abnormalities.

But there are other women who are considered high risk, specifically those who have diabetes; take antidepressants or seizure medications; have a family history of congenital heart disease; or became pregnant using in-vitro fertilization.

These women should get an advanced screening that can provide better detail of the fetus at an earlier stage in the pregnancy, the report said.


0
Guide to Prenatal Appointments

<img src="https://images.newscred.com/f6e4efdca89cab0c023d2477a8167fb1?width=500&amp;height=333" height="333" width="500">&nbsp;<div><br></div><div>&nbsp;

<font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">By </span><span class="ng-scope ng-binding"><span style="font-weight: bold;">EverydayFamily</span><br><br></span>
              
            
          
          </span></font><div class="article-bottom">
            <div class="lfloat desc-l">
              <div class="content-description ng-binding"><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Once
 you get pregnant, you’ll probably become pretty chummy with the clinic 
receptionist. You will visit your clinic for prenatal appointments about
 12 to 15 times throughout your 40 weeks of gestation. It’s a lot. 
Here’s a breakdown of what your visits will entail:</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Visit One: This is a big one, so set aside some time. You’ll want to 
schedule it as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. You’ll be asked to 
give your medical history, the doctor will estimate your due date, 
you’ll have a physical (height, weight, blood pressure, etc.), blood 
tests, urine tests, and you’ll discuss nutrition and other health 
concerns.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Other first-trimester exams: You’ll hear the heartbeat, probably 
around ten or twelve weeks. And possibly have an Ultrasound. (Of course,
 each care provider is a little different, so ask your care provider 
what you can expect and when while you’re at your first visit). Later in
 the first trimester, you’ll have the option to test for Down syndrome. 
Also, just expect to provide a urine sample for every visit from now on.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Second trimester exams: Probably an ultrasound, if you haven’t had 
one already. Make sure your bladder is fairly full! Your abdomen will be
 measured to estimate growth. You’ll also have other options for 
screening for birth defects, such as an amniocentesis. Around 24 to 28 
weeks, you will have the glucose tolerance test to see if you’ve 
developed generational diabetes.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Third trimester exams: Possibly another ultrasound. Hepatitis B and 
group B strep screening (another blood test– you’ll be a pro by now). 
The doctor will determine whether the baby is breech around 36 weeks, 
and also if the head has dropped down to the pelvis. Your appointments 
will be closer together, too. Once you’re 36 weeks, you’ll probably have
 an appointment once a week.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">There are a number of optional tests as well. Be sure to discuss the tests with your care provider and your partner.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">If you are feeling overwhelmed by all of these prenatal appointments,
 here’s a helpful tip: take a notebook or a journal with you. Write down
 all the questions you have and bring the journal with you to the 
appointments. Then jot down notes so that you’ll remember the answers 
later (baby brain is a very real thing!). Also, write down other 
insights in your journal, such as your feelings or when you felt 
movement. Your partner will feel like part of the team, and you’ll feel 
like you have a little control.</span></font></p><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></p><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></p><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Image: Getty Images</span></font></p></div></div></div>

<img src="http://pixel.newscred.com/px.gif?key=YXJ0aWNsZT1hYWY3YzQ1YTAzMmM5ZmVlZWUyZjg0YTY5MzE3NTBlNyZub25jZT0xZjkwNmZiMS1iYWQ2LTQ4Y2EtOTQwNS02YWY1NmY1YjFiMGYmcHVibGlzaGVyPWVmOTYwNjg3Zjk3ODMwMmFlYzk1YTcwOWY2NTI1ZmNi"></div>
0
Should Your Partner Come to Prenatal Appointments?
<img src="http://images.newscred.com/b3d7dcd39cc346e5e593ec87462dd003?width=500&amp;height=333" alt="couple prenatal ultrasound" height="333" width="500">

<font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;"><br>By <span class="ng-scope ng-binding">EverydayFamily<br><br></span></span>
              
            
          
          </span></font><div class="article-bottom">
            <div class="lfloat desc-l">
              <div class="content-description ng-binding"><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Should your partner come to prenatal appointments? It’s up to you, but my recommendation is yes. And no.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">I think it’s important for you and your partner to experience the 
prenatal appointments together. Many times, fathers don’t feel as though
 they are included in the pregnancy. And while they aren’t, physically, 
there are things you can do to make them feel part of the team. 
Attending some prenatal visits is one way for your partner to feel as if
 they are contributing, and a way for them to feel connected with the 
baby.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">However, you’re going to have about twelve to fifteen prenatal 
appointments during your pregnancy. That’s a lot of waiting room visits,
 old magazines, blood pressure pumps, and urine samples. If that’s too 
much– if your partner can’t get off work that often or if you feel that 
it’s not necessary to both be there at each appointment– then list all 
the prenatal visit appointments with your care provider and determine 
which appointments are the most crucial.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">For example, your 37th week appointment will probably be just a urine
 sample, weight, and blood pressure. And at your 37th week, this is old 
hat. But other appointments are much more interesting: your first 
appointment, where you’ll be discussing prenatal care and determining 
the due date, your ultrasound, the appointments where you may be testing
 for abnormalities, and an appointment when you’ll be discussing the 
birth plan. Talk to your partner about which appointments are essential 
and which are… well, boring.</span></font></p>
<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">If your partner doesn’t come to all of your appointments, be sure to 
keep a journal. You don’t have to write an essay or anything– just jot 
down some notes from the appointment and if anything interesting 
happened. That way, you don’t have to worry about remembering something 
important, and you also have some great info for your baby album.</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></div></div></div>

<img src="http://pixel.newscred.com/px.gif?key=YXJ0aWNsZT1iMDg4M2JjZWMwNzg5Zjk5NDFlZDQzZTU2OGY3M2NhNCZub25jZT02OGQ3ZTFmNS1hNDZjLTQ3NTAtYTM3Yy00YTIzMTU3ZmEyYmMmcHVibGlzaGVyPWVmOTYwNjg3Zjk3ODMwMmFlYzk1YTcwOWY2NTI1ZmNi">
0
Pregnancy Ultrasound a Big Bonding Moment for Dads-to-Be
<img src="http://images.newscred.com/b3d7dcd39cc346e5e593ec87462dd003?width=500&amp;height=333" alt="replace coffee pregnant" height="333" width="500">

<font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;"><br>By </span><span class="ng-scope ng-binding"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Robert Preidt, HealthDay</span><br><br></span>Seeing the first ultrasound images of their unborn babies helps 
fathers bond with their children, according to a new small study.
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Researchers interviewed 22 expectant fathers, aged 23 to 41, in 
Michigan after they viewed a routine ultrasound of their unborn child 
taken at weeks 16 to 20 of pregnancy. Half of the men were first-time 
fathers.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The ultrasound helped the men truly understand that they were going 
to have a child and reassured them that all was well with the pregnancy,
 the researchers said.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Viewing the ultrasound also prompted the men to think deeply on their
 roles as fathers, according to the study published online April 21 in 
the journal <em>Fatherhood</em>.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">For example, one expectant father told the researchers: "Now that we 
know that it's a girl, you know, now I'm thinking about... walking her 
down the aisle someday, you know, [I'm] thinking that far ahead... which
 is crazy, but I mean, it's like my brain went from bringing her into 
the world and taking care of her and making sure she is taken care of...
 to her future and everything."</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Another man confided: "I need to make sure I have a steady job 
because my child eating depends on me. If I don't work, he don't eat. 
And I'd rather my child eat before I do."</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Encouragement from other fathers was important in making the fathers 
in the study decide to be present for the ultrasound, according to the 
researchers, who also found that the expectant fathers' reactions ranged
 from quiet excitement to elation.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">"While all our fathers felt the mothers were receiving good care, 
about half of them felt excluded or ignored and wished that providers 
would offer them more explanation and opportunity to ask questions 
during the appointment," Dr. Tova Walsh, a researcher at the University 
of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said in a university 
news release.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">"Because so much previous research shows that mothers and babies 
benefit when fathers are positively involved and supportive during 
pregnancy, they should feel welcome at an event that is their first 
interaction with the health care of the mother and baby," Walsh added.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>More information</strong></span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The March of Dimes has more about <a href="http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/ultrasound.aspx">pregnancy ultrasound</a>.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Copyright © 2014 <a href="http://www.healthday.com/">HealthDay</a>. All rights reserved.</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="https://pixel.newscred.com/px.gif?key=YXJ0aWNsZT1kOGE3Y2Q0ZWU2NjA1MGIxYzcyNjAzZTdkZjBkMjU3OCZub25jZT1jNDA1ZmVhMC0xNDI5LTRiZTItYTViMy00ZjA3OGFkYzY0NzEmcHVibGlzaGVyPWVmOTYwNjg3Zjk3ODMwMmFlYzk1YTcwOWY2NTI1ZmNi">
0
Pros and Cons of Finding Out Baby’s Gender Early
<img src="http://images.newscred.com/b614380731f009a1af8e7c1201af9873?width=500&amp;height=333" alt="ultrasound finding out gender" height="333" width="500">

<font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;"><br>From Everyday Family</span><br><br></span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">I’ve gone back and forth this pregnancy trying to decide if I wanted 
to know the gender early. I know that ultimately it doesn’t matter and 
having one boy and two girls already, we’re not hoping for the gender to
 be one way or the other. I have never really had that delivery surprise
 though.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Generally speaking, I am not someone who likes surprises. While the 
gender could only really go one way or another in average circumstances,
 I was still anxious to know if we would be adding a boy or a girl to 
our small family. It didn’t matter either way at that point, but I 
wanted to be able to call my child by it’s name to help with bonding. I 
was thrilled to find out we were having a son and began buying all the 
blue things and using his name before he was born.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">With my second child, I was a little more anxious to find out the 
gender because I wanted a girl. Like everyone else, I would have been 
happy with another boy — I was thrilled we got pregnant, but a girl 
would be the icing on the cake. We decided to find out early with that 
pregnancy as well so we knew if we would be needing to replace all the 
blue with purple. Sure enough, we did, since we discovered we were 
welcoming a girl soon to our family.&nbsp;</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">I really appreciated knowing what to expect and to be able narrow 
down the baby’s name. It was my way of bonding through anxiety of 
pregnancy and fears of another loss. I always wondered though how 
exciting that moment after the baby was born to discover the big secret 
of gender was. Was I missing out?</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">When I was expecting my third child, my husband and I decided that we
 would find out how exciting that moment is. Since we had a boy and a 
girl and all the things needed, we vowed to not find out the gender at 
the anatomy ultrasound half way through pregnancy. We made plans on how 
my husband would shout “<em>it’s a boy</em>” or “<em>it’s a girl</em>” 
after he’s cut the umbilical cord and we would give the baby his/her 
name. We had two chosen that sounded similar for either gender and that 
was the plan.&nbsp;</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">I ended up finding out earlier than delivery though. Due to extra 
ultrasounds I had to have and my experience seeing both genders through 
ultrasound, once I took a look — I knew. My husband still didn’t want to
 know until delivery so thus began a new type of situation — keeping it a
 surprise from him. I do wish I was able to have that excitement on 
delivery day, but the next best thing was seeing the joy in my husband’s
 eyes as he shouted, <em>“It’s a girl!”&nbsp;</em></span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">With this pregnancy, I really did want to experience that moment. 
There is a big chance this is my last pregnancy and I have not 
experienced that whole gestation period wondering and second-guessing my
 instinct. It genuinely doesn’t matter to me this time around because I 
have experienced both genders and after infertility and loss, all I hope
 for is a full-term healthy baby.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Yesterday at our first anatomy scan, we found out the gender. After a
 lot of consideration and talks, my husband and I decided it would be 
best for us to know the gender early — for the sake of our kids. They 
are old enough to know what’s going on this time around and while I know
 they would be happy with either boy or girl, my son has been 
practically begging for a brother. When he talks about the baby, he 
references a girl, but he’s been very vocal about wanting it to be a 
boy. We talked a lot and decided that — for the sake of the kids bonding
 — it would be better for them to know earlier instead of going 9+ 
months and potentially being a little disappointed.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">There are a lot of reasons why someone may or may not choose to know the gender before birth:</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>Pros:</strong></span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><ul><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">No wondering for 9+ months if you really hate surprises</span></font></li><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">You know what to paint the nursery if you have one and are picky about gender colors</span></font></li><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">You don’t have to try to find gender neutral clothes</span></font></li><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Your older kids can know and potentially bond easier</span></font></li><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">You can have a name chosen and get personalized items</span></font></li></ul><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>Cons:</strong></span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><ul><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">You miss out on one of life’s biggest surprises</span></font></li><li><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The ultrasound reading could be wrong</span></font></li></ul><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><em><strong>:: Did you or will you be finding out the gender early for your babe? ::</strong></em></span></font></p><p><br><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><em><strong></strong></em></span></font></p><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>Image: Getty Images</strong><em><strong><br></strong></em></span></font></p><br>

<img src="https://pixel.newscred.com/px.gif?key=YXJ0aWNsZT04NDQ5MDA3ZTY5ZDFhMzc2YWRjMTU3Y2E0MmM3Zjk0YiZub25jZT1kZjk0ODBlNS0wNjc3LTQ3ODEtYTZmMi0zNjEyY2QyYTlhNTYmcHVibGlzaGVyPWVmOTYwNjg3Zjk3ODMwMmFlYzk1YTcwOWY2NTI1ZmNi">
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'It's a Boy!'— Hearing Those Words
By Nicole Fabian-Weber, CafeMom

I'm horrible at guessing the sex of people's babies. Including my own. If I tell you you're probably having a girl, run out and buy yourself a blue onesie. My first pregnancy I was convinced I was having a son until my 20-week anatomy scan when the doctor shocked and delighted my husband and me with news that we were having a little girl. Everything up to that point -- the way I was carrying, the way I looked and felt -- had led me to believe I was having a boy. But mainly, I think I had so desperately wanted a daughter, I convinced myself that I was having the opposite.

Until my mother died, a year-and-a-half before I got pregnant, I always thought I wanted a boy. I come from a family of girls and thought it would be nice to mix it up a bit. But after my mother's passing, I started to think more about having a daughter of my own, and it seemed, well, really fantastic. I'm sure a psychologist could give you an exact term, but I realized how close I really was with my mom after she was gone, and I wanted to, in some ways, have a similar relationship where I was the mother. I also, naturally, wanted to do some things differently than she did.

For most of my first trimester and half of my second, I pictured myself with a little boy in order to "prepare" myself for his arrival. I all but told people with certainty that I was, in fact, having a son before I ever found out the baby's sex. But when I was lying there in the warm glow of ultrasound light, belly full of goo, and found out I was having a girl, nothing ever seemed to make more sense in the world. I immediately felt a connection, and I already knew her name.

Like many parents of one, it's hard to imagine having a child of the opposite sex. Everything feels natural with my daughter. I "get" her more than I would a son, and let's be honest: Girl clothes are adorable.

When my doctor told my husband and me that we were having a son this time around, I was shocked. I was excited but dumbfounded. A boy? But ... I just assumed I was having another girl. After all, I already have a daughter. I have a sister. I'm a girl. Doesn't life always replicate itself around me?

It was hard to process my feelings that evening. I was happy and intrigued by the idea of a boy. I was glad my husband was getting a son and my daughter a brother, but it was just so ... strange. I know being the mom to a daughter. I'm pretty good at being the mom to a daughter.

Since I've had time to let things sink in, I couldn't be more thrilled that in a few months, I'll be cradling a gorgeous baby boy in my arms. This is the first of the million and one ways he'll surprise me in life, and if parenting has taught me one thing, it's to expect the unexpected. I feel a little guilty for feeling anything other than complete and utter bliss after learning his sex, but I hope someday, he'll find it in his heart to forgive me.

I love you so much already, little boy. You were always meant to be, and I know in a few months time, we'll be wondering how there ever was a world without you.

Now. If we could only come up with a name.

Were you surprised when you found out the sex of your baby?


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Your Baby Is Communicating in Her Sonogram
By April Peveteaux,

My daughter tried to tell me the other day that she remembers being in the womb and that it was dark and wet. I know, easy guess. But I swore something was up when she flashed what was either the heavy metal or hook 'em horns sign on her very first sonogram. (As a University of Texas alum and lover of all hair bands in the 1980s, I was quite pleased.) Gang signs aside, it does seem that those babies are up to something in there, and it's kind of amazing. 

It turns out, babies are doing all kinds of things before they even show up out of the womb. One of the most fascinating is developing those facial expressions and seeing that those womb babies are actually smiling and crying. Crying, I'm guessing, because you skipped the chocolate milkshake that day.

So when does all this business start happening, so you can take a much closer look at those pictures of your belly?

Those 4D sonogram machines have come in handy, as researchers used them to measure fetal facial movements. Between your 24th week and 36th week, your baby's facial expressions start becoming much more advanced and complex. Your little swimmer at 24 weeks can open her mouth and stretch her lips. By 35 weeks those kiddos can furrow the brow, lower a brow, and give you the hairy eyeball. Just kidding on the last one. Unless your fetus is particularly emotionally advanced.

All of this is to say, I guess those creepy 4D images are useful for more than just freaking out new moms. Seriously, I thought I had an alien inside of me after looking at one of those. Turns out, it was a smiling, frowning, crying alien.

Did your baby smile in his sonogram?
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X-ray During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?
From

Is it safe to have an X-ray during pregnancy?

Answer Section

Yes — having an X-ray during pregnancy is generally considered safe. It's highly unlikely that a diagnostic X-ray during pregnancy will harm a developing baby.

Most X-ray exams — including those of the arms, legs, head, teeth or chest — won't expose your reproductive organs to radiation, and a leaded apron and collar can be worn to block any scattered radiation. The exception is abdominal X-rays, which expose your abdomen — and your baby — to radiation. High doses of radiation can cause changes in a baby's rapidly growing cells. In turn, it's possible that these changes could slightly increase a baby's risk of birth defects or certain cancers, such as leukemia, later in life. Remember, however, that the typical dose of radiation associated with a diagnostic X-ray — even one of the abdomen or pelvis — doesn't pose this risk.

Before having an X-ray, tell your health care provider if you are or might be pregnant. Depending on the circumstances, it might be possible to do an imaging study that doesn't involve radiation — such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging. In addition, if you have a child who needs an X-ray, don't hold your child during the exam if you are or might be pregnant. Instead, ask another person to take your place.

If you had a diagnostic X-ray before you knew you were pregnant, remember that any potential risk is exceedingly remote. If you had radiation treatment for a medical condition, the risks might be more significant. Share any concerns about radiation exposure with your health care provider. He or she might consult a medical radiation physicist to calculate your baby's radiation exposure.

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Non-Stress Tests Measure Your Baby’s Movements, Heart Rate
By Pregnancy & Childbirth Team, Cleveland Clinic

A mom-to-be with a high-risk pregnancy cherishes every bit of positive feedback she can get. A non-stress test can tell you more about how your baby is doing in the final weeks of pregnancy.

Most expectant parents want reassurance that they will deliver a healthy baby. Understandably, a woman who is told her pregnancy is high risk is likely to worry more than someone without pregnancy problems. Even healthy women are sometimes given special tests as a precaution to monitor their baby’s health late in the pregnancy.

“The non-stress test is a special test we like to perform when the mom has a high-risk pregnancy or when she develops problems during her pregnancy,” says maternal fetal medicine specialist Abdelaziz Saleh, MD. “We usually recommend these special tests at 32 or 34 weeks, although sometimes we’ll begin monitoring the baby’s movements as early as 28 weeks.”

Who might need a non-stress test?

According to Dr. Saleh, certain conditions warrant non-stress testing and determine how frequently the tests are done. These health conditions can include:

  • Diabetes and other pre-existing health conditions
  • Problems that arise during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure or gestational hypertension
  • Issues with the baby, such as appearing too small, being diagnosed with a birth defect or being less active than normal
  • Situations where the mom previously lost a baby in the second half of pregnancy

Other instances when doctors might order a non-stress test are:

  • A woman is age 35 or older
  • The pregnancy lasts longer than 42 weeks and they want to check on the baby’s health

What happens during the test?

Non-stress tests – so called because they do not put any stress on the fetus — are used to monitor the baby’s movements. The noninvasive test can take anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes, depending on how active the baby is. Usually, the test is performed in your doctor’s office or at the hospital.

Nicole Herbst, 40, whose pregnancy was not considered high-risk, went every week for non-stress tests beginning in the 34th week of her pregnancy. For the most part, the test took place during Herbst’s prenatal visits.

“I sat in a recliner with my entire belly exposed,” she says. “The nurse strapped a belt with two circular, flat discs around my abdomen. She gave me a device to click every time I felt my baby move.”

The discs on Herbst’s belly linked to sensors that measured her baby’s heart rate. The heart rate, in turn, was recorded.

“It reminded me of an EKG machine because there was a printout of the baby’s movements,” says Herbst, who was expecting her first child after experiencing difficulty getting pregnant and suffering a miscarriage.

How non-stress tests work

The test looks at the number of movements the baby makes over a 20-minute period. If the baby is sleeping or inactive during the test, the mother drinks cold water or juice to get him moving.

The test outcome is either reactive or nonreactive. A reactive result means the baby’s heart beats faster than her resting rate at least twice during the test. This is considered reassuring. A nonreactive result means her heart rate doesn’t accelerate. In that situation, your doctor may want you to take additional tests to make sure the baby is healthy.

Extra reassurance makes tests worthwhile

Herbst says the extra tests were reassuring.

“Even though they took more time, I was glad that my OB/GYN followed these extra precautions,” she says. “It gave my husband and me peace of mind.”

In March 2014, the Herbsts welcomed their baby girl, who was born at Fairview Hospital.


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