Fetomaternal medicine is all about constantly updating technology. With the help of 3D & 4D technology, we have the best clinical acumen to study, evaluate genesis, formation, growth & defects of the fetus – be it for diagnosis of genetic disorders or to give us a window of therapeutic interventions. Our parent group CIMAR – pioneered the concept of fetal medicine in the State of Kerala, using the latest technology.
To monitor the mother’s health and fetal health there are many tests. With modern investigations, we can detect birth defects, correct some fatal problems before birth and identify problems that may affect delivery. In the first trimester, there are essential tests to check on the mother’s level of well- being, as she is likely to pass on certain conditions to the unborn child. “These include tests for HIV, hepatitis, HCV B and VDRL (for syphilis), hemoglobin status and risk of thalassemia. All these are done with one blood test during early pregnancy,” says specialist in fetal medicine, MOM Birth Centre, Kochi.
Other tests include:
12th week: The combination of a blood test and a nuchal scan (ultrasound scans) is done to test for Down’s Syndrome.
15th to 16th week: If you have missed your genetic screening test at 12 weeks, the quadruple test is advised. These screening tests determines the risk of Down’s Syndrome, neural tube defects and trisomy 18 (a genetic disorder). Depending on the scores, amniocentesis may be done to confirm the risk.
18th to 20th week: An ultrasound scan can help assess the risk of heart defects and structural malformation in the fetus. The uterine artery blood flow and cervical length of the mother are also tested. The former can assess if there may be a possibility of growth restriction in a foetus and increased blood pressure in the mom, the latter, can be a risk factor for preterm labour in women with history of previous preterm delivery.
See, the fetus is growing
Do you know, by the 22nd day your baby’s heart starts to beat. By the first month itself the baby’s heart, lungs and neural tubes begin to form. By the end of the first month it is about 1/4 inch long.
The major organs like brain, heart and lungs will start forming in the second month. Its ears, ankles, wrist, toes and fingers are formed. By the end of second month, it is about 1 inch long and weighs less than 1 ounce. Your placenta provides food and oxygen to your baby.
In the 3rd month, the doctor can hear the heart beat of your baby for the first time. Now its fingernails and toenails are formed and the baby weighs about one ounce.
During the 4th month, the baby starts to move, kick and swallow. By the end of 4th month, it weighs 0.11 to 0.14 Kg. Your baby grows a lot during the fifth month. It becomes more active. He can turn side to side, sometimes head over heels. Baby starts to sleep and wakes up. By the end of fifth month, it weighs around 0.23 to 0.45 kg.
In the 6th month your baby’s eyes are almost completely formed. It can kick strongly now. By the end of the sixth month, it weighs 0.68 to 9 kg.
In the seventh month, the baby can open and close its eyes. It can suck its fingers. It responds to light and sound. Now your baby not only kicks but also stretches and it weights 1 to 1.3 kg.
In the eighth month your baby can roll around, it weighs 1.8 to 2.3 kg. Its brain and lungs are still growing.
Baby’s lungs start to work on its own. It moves to head down position and rests lower in your abdomen. It gains half pound each week.