Fetal morphology takes place between 19th and 22nd WOP. The aim of fetal morphology is to trace the normal anatomical and physiological development of the fetus for this period, to make biometric measurements, respectively to detect pathological changes, if any, to conclude and determine the follow-up. It is a highly specialized analysis done with a high-resolution ultrasound scan.
Organogenesis (organ formation) was completed at the end of the first trimester. During this period of pregnancy, the fetus develops its organs and systems. The fetal medicine specialist examines all organs and systems that can be viewed. We can easily distinguish between different structures - for example, in the brain, to track its development, the presence of a normal or abnormal amount of spinal fluid, and so on.
The analysis begins with the establishment of a heartbeat, just like any ultrasound scan. With a quick view we can check for the current position of the fetus, the place and the structure of the placenta, and we can estimate the amount of amniotic fluid. What follows is your baby’s detailed examination. There is no definite order with which structures to begin with and in what order we examine them, since the system and organ view itself depends on the position of the fetus. For example, when the body is turned upside down and its back is against your back, we can look at the face (eyes, nose, hard palate, lips) and heart.
The heart is the most complex and dynamic structure in the body of the fetus and it takes the most time to examine. When examining the heart, we check for the position, dimensions, structure, and function. This is a long process of heart assessment and sometimes difficult for a number of reasons - position of the fetus, surgical interventions, obesity of the mother, etc. Heart examinations should be performed in the first trimester, as a number of disorders can already be detected in these early stages of pregnancy. Of course, ultrasound scanning can not detect all anomalies or minor defects. There are also conditions that are followed up on dynamically during pregnancy and after birth.
Another structure that we can look at - only if the baby shows it is the spine. We wait for the fetus to be turned upside down so that we can best estimate the condition of the vertebrae and exclude or confirm defects of the spine and spinal cord. Neural tube defects such as spina bifida can be detected at different levels of the spine, the most common being in the lumbosacral area and the neckline, but can also be found in the chest area. It was found that when 400 mcg of folic acid were taken during the first trimester and 2 months before pregnancy, the occurrence of this abnormality decreases by 75%.
All other structures and measurements can be visualized much easier and we do not need to have a definite position of the fetus. Of course, it is not always easy to see the limbs that move, and we have to examine them. But it is very beautiful when we see the small hands and count the toes together, as well as the feet.
You will witness a very comprehensive and detailed examination of your baby. Together we will look at all the organs, observe the movements of the fetus, make measurements of the head, brain structures, long bones, abdominal circumference, and compare them to each other.
For each parent it is very important to have a healthy baby, and every doctor wants to bring good news. In order for us to be more precise in our work and generally in the assessment, it is good to have certain working conditions that can be provided by you. The main purpose of the examination is to detect or reject anomalies rather than just taking photographs, video and so on. It is important for the doctor to have a calm and quiet working environment, to be able to concentrate and to have a good view of the baby. That’s why it is best to go to an examination without applying body oils, creams or lotions at least least 3-5 days before the examination. All of these substances enter the skin, can not be washed, and are a barrier to ultrasound waves that can not penetrate well and the image is blurry, with unclear contours and outlines. With such a review, some anomalies can easily be omitted. It is clear that you want to share this moment with your loved ones, but remember that this is a medical examination like any other, not a movie theater, so take one adult with you without children. Keep in mind that if a pathology is discovered, it can shock and traumatise both you and your relatives and children.
Of course, in the presence of good news you will receive pictures and greetings from the whole team and we will be happy to wait for your next visit together to enjoy your baby. In the stages between 20-22 WOP the fetus has no accumulated subcutaneous fat, because 3D and 4D images are not very good. But between 28-32 WOP your baby already has enough fat to take beautiful 3D and 4D pictures.