Echo at 20 weeks? What is it like?

Hi all, I am wondering if anyone has gone through the 20-week echo/detailed anatomy scan and can give a good description of what it’s like? I’ve been told it’s a 2 hour ultrasound but that’s about it. I have mine on Christmas Eve of all days and am freaking out a little. We will either get really good or bad news on a major holiday! Blood sugars have been great but still worried of course about our little one developing properly!

Hey! I’ve had two babies. I have a 5 year old my a1c was 13 when I found out I was pregnant and it never got below 8. I just had my second 3 months ago my lowest a1c was 6.0. Much better! My echos never lasted 2 hours. It’s just a regular ultrasound where the concentrate more on the heart and have a high risk OB or specialist look at. Both my kids hearts were fine. Even with my sugars being a little wacky. With my daughter they found two spots called echogenic intracardic foci on her heart in a chamber. They said it would no affect her heart but the one high risk on told me it could be a sign for Down’s syndrome. Naturally I got really worried she wanted me to go for testing because I hadn’t this time around. For us it wasn’t worth it because I would love my baby the same. My regular ob and nurses and ultrasound tech said everything else looked fine and they don’t even look at that as a sign anymore. One of them disappeared at 30 weeks and I’m not sure about the other one. She was born two weeks early perfectly fine at 9lbs 11oz. I’m sure everything will go fine for you! My only word of advise is maybe to tell the doctors to be cautious of what they tell you. I feel like part of my pregnancy was ruined and I could t fully enjoy it because I was worried. Turns out a lot of moms get worrisome info and are scared their whole pregnancy never enjoy it and then they have a baby who is healthy. They told my mom my sister wouldn’t live past a year because of multiple things wrong with her. She is now 21 and perfectly healthy. Congrats on the baby!

Hello! Congratulations first of all! Like you, I was very worried about how my baby was developing. I didn’t find out I was pregnant until around 6 weeks, and during that time, my a1c was 8.9 and I was generally not taking care of myself. I was able to get my a1c down to 4.9 in two months (it’s now 5.2) but I worried then that it was too little too late. I just had my level two ultrasound last week, and thankfully, our little guy is developing just fine. I go back in two weeks, and they are going to take a closer look at the heart though the OB said that from what he saw, everything looked good.

My level 2 ultrasound did not seem like it took 2 hours, though I tend to lose track of time during ultrasounds. For my level 2, they did a trans vaginal ultrasound after. I was not expecting that, but they wanted to check and make sure there were no problems with my cervix. That was relatively quick.

As for the ultrasound, it seemed like a regular ultrasound except they spent much more time looking at all of the anatomy. Our tech identified the organs and kept us updated when she saw things were looking good. At the end of our ultrasound, the high risk OB came and talked to my SO and I and explained they found 2 soft markers for Down’s Syndrome. The first one was Choroid Plexus Cyst on the brain (which sounds very scary, but the OB assured us it does not damage the brain and usually gets reabsorbed). The second, was a spot on his heart called an Echogenic Intracardial Focus. He also reassured us that the EIF did not affect the heart’s function and many healthy children had this marker.

He sent me down for a Harmony blood test, which can screen for the risk of chromosomal abnormalities. Most insurance will cover it if markers are identified in the ultrasound. I was of course worried about these markers, and stayed up all night reading what I could about them. I did find this article:

which helped me relax about it. I just got my results for the Harmony test today and it said the baby was low risk for chromosomal abnormalities.

@natrie Care to respond as well?

I had my scan at 21w and it was booked for 45mins, not two hours. Like said it’s basically a more detailed ultrasound where they take a TON of photos to send to your doctors, take measurements of the baby and check for any abnormalities. Yours may be scheduled for two hours in case they need to take their time or something but I don’t see it taking 2 hours. Our tech did tell us what she was taking measurements and photos of, but because of where I am in Canada she couldn’t tell us the sex (which didn’t matter, our OB had told us when she did her usual u/s to look at the baby’s development at her office two weeks prior).

We ended up being there for about an hour, maybe a bit longer, because our tech couldn’t get all the photos of the heart so she had to go get the OB on call to come in and try. He was able to get the photos the tech wasn’t able to, including video, to send to my OB and endo. My guy was concerned when the OB had to be called in, but a lot of the women in my birth club (a non-diabetic group, just a club for women due in February across Canada) had to go back for second ultrasounds because the baby wasn’t cooperating so they didn’t get all the photos so I knew it wasn’t an automatic reason to be concerned. Our boy was snuggled in tight to my right side, so I actually had to lay on my sides and stuff at certain points so she could get all the photos and measurements needed. The OB on call had no concerns about the heart and it was likely just hard for the tech because of the position he was in. I was told to go in with a full bladder, but because of his position she got me to empty my bladder after about 10 minutes; follow whatever instructions they give you…some clinics don’t ask you to come with a full bladder, some want you to have only a half full bladder, etc.

I wouldn’t worry too much. If your doctor hasn’t raised any concerns by this point there’s plenty of reason to believe the scan will come back normal. :slight_smile: If they can’t get all the photos and want you to go back, don’t worry too much it’s really common for many pregnancies and isn’t necessarily a bad sign.

I had an A1C of 7.5 in May before I got pregnant and got it down to 6.4 by August; our little boy has developed perfectly and my SIPs blood work came back normal as well.

Also, I was pretty sore the next day where the tech had been putting the wand which a lot of other women in my birth club complained of. There were a few points she was pretty rough with the wand to try and get a photo but that’s because of the position he was in. A bit of tenderness the next day seems to be pretty normal. :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone for all the info! It sounds more like a normal ultrasound than I thought, the two hour window had me worried. The last one I had our baby was in a position that made it difficult for the tech to see so that must be why it’s extra long. Sounds like the results are not necessarily as definite as I thought either. The doctors make everything seem so serious. We of course will love our baby no matter what but with my type 1, eating gluten free and my husband having cancer a few years back I’m just hoping someone in our little family doesn’t have to deal with major health stuff.

I just had my echo on Thursday. Yes, it was about an hour long and I actually fell asleep on the table because the tech hardly even spoke to us! Any other ultrasound I’ve had the technicians would explain what they were looking at as we went along (especially with the hour-long anatomy scan I had 2 weeks prior). This time around, the cardio tech brought a helper into the room with her and them two chatted away. At the end the doctor came in and said everything looked fine. Don’t worry too much–if you haven’t had any issues come up yet there is probably little reason to worry. Also, mine did not include a transvaginal ultrasound like some others mentioned, so I guess it depends on your doctor’s methods.