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Innermost Secrets / Innermost Living / Body Clock
Skip Navigation LinksWellbeing Scans
Page modified at: 28/08/2011

Wellbeing Scan

Wellbeing Scan

These cans performed after 24 weeks assess fetal wellbing, growth, amniotic fluid and placental blood flow as a reliable way of assessing fetal health.


Wellbeing ScanSafe for Baby Scan Package


We advise serial scans at 24, 28, 32 and 36 weeks for optimal surveillance

Launched in April 2009 the "Safe 4 Baby" package provides serial  growth and wellbeing scans at 24, 28, 32 and 36 weeks for less than the cost of four individual scans.

Discounted 4D scan option for "Safe 4 Baby" mums.

Fetal Growth and Welfare Assessment
The purpose of this examination is to assess:

  • Position of the baby
  • Size, Growth and Weight
  • Amniotic Fluid Volume (amount of fluid surrounding the baby)
  • Placental blood flow (Umbilical Artery Doppler)

1 in 3 breech babies are missed by feeling the bump!

Most babies are head down towards the end of pregnancy. Occasionally the baby can be in a breech position, where the bottom is closest to the cervix (opening to the uterus) or transverse (sideways)

Palpating the abdomen at around 36 weeks will only identify about 30% of babies who are not head first allowing the option of turning the baby (external cephalic version) around 38 weeks or planned caesarean section at 39 weeks. In women who are obese the pick up rate is, however,  even lower.

Failure to identify a non head first baby may lead to an emergency transfer to a Consultant Led Unit in labour for an emergency caesarean section. A scan at 36+ weeks is 100% accurate in determining the position of the baby.

Size, Growth and Weight

1 in 2 growth restricted babies are missed by measuring the bump!

The age of the baby is established in early pregnancy. The size of the baby can be compared with the size expected for this stage of pregnancy, giving information about the baby's growth. An estimate of the weight can be calculated from the measurements.

Recent research has shown that relying on measuring the size of the bump (Symphysis-Fundal Height) is unreliable in detecting small babies who are not growing properly and only picks up 30-50% whereas ultrasound scans will identify about 80-90% of babies with poor growth.

We advise serial growth scans at 24, 28, 32 and 36 weeks for optimal growth surveillance.


Amniotic Fluid Volume (Amount of fluid surrounding the baby)
When babies are stressed they reduce their blood flow to non-essential organs such as the kidneys to maximise the blood flow to essential organs such as the brain and heart. This reduces the amount of urine they produce and therefore the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby within the pregnancy sac. Low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios) is therefore sometimes an important sign of a poorly functioning placenta (afterbirth)

Placental blood flow (Umbilical Artery Doppler)

Ultrasound can be used to examine the blood flow in the baby's umbilical cord (Umbilical Artery Doppler Scan). The umbilical cord contains two arteries, which carry stale blood to the placenta (afterbirth), and a vein that carries fresh blood back to the baby. Umbilical Artery Doppler Scans give a good guide to how well the placenta is working.


Health (Biophysical Profile Score)
The biophysical profile is a measure of the baby's health and uses ultrasound to examine fetal body movements, breathing movements, tone, amniotic fluid volume and sometimes heart rate variability. This gives an indication of the baby's general wellbeing and identifies at risk babies who are hypoxic (low on oxygen) who may need closer surveillance or to be delivered early.

It is useful in babies suspected of being hypoxic such as those who are very small for dates, have very reduced amniotic fluid volumes or abnormal placental blood flow.