Week 19 - Birth Defects

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Hello. This is Dr. Mauldin. You’re now 19 weeks into your pregnancy.

This week, your baby is about 6 inches longs and weighs about 8 ½ pounds.

It’s almost time for your special ultrasound where you’ll find out so many things about the baby! The sex of the baby can usually be seen at this time – so if you want to know, keep your fingers crossed that the baby’s legs won’t be crossed and keep everything a secret!

There are a small percentage of you who will find out that the baby has a birth defect.  Birth defects can range from mild to severe. Some of them might affect the way the baby looks or the way his body works or possibly both. But ultrasound doesn’t find all the possible birth defects. Some things may not show up until the baby is born or even until the baby is a little older. While we would like to know what causes the birth defects, many times we just don’t know.
Birth defects can really affect almost any area of the body. The most common birth defects are those that affect the heart, spine and brain. Many of these are serious; others are less so.

Some genetic conditions can also be detected on ultrasound – but of course, not all of them.  Most people are familiar with Downs syndrome, which is a genetic syndrome that is often detectable on ultrasound.  If your baby is thought to have a problem on ultrasound, talk to your doctor and a genetic counselor.

I hope you are doing well and I’ll talk to you next week.

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