Well, well – if it isn’t the nine-month mark.
You’re so close to the finish line!
By this point in your pregnancy, you may have had at least two scans, but what happens at a 36-week ultrasound?
It’s almost time to meet your little one and forever alter a certain date in the family calendar.
But before you do, your healthcare provider may suggest a 36-week ultrasound.
Consider this one last glimpse into life on the inside before you welcome baby to your little world.
36-week ultrasound pictures will give you a good sneak peek at the little face you’ll meet in a few weeks!
In this article: 📝
- Is it normal to have a 36-week ultrasound?
- What is the 36-week ultrasound for?
- What to expect at a 36-week appointment
Is it normal to have a 36-week ultrasound?
By this point, you will have likely had two ultrasounds:
- The dating scan, usually done in the first trimester
- An anatomy scan at about the 20-week mark
Depending on how your pregnancy has gone so far, your doctor may suggest an additional ultrasound at 36 weeks to check growth and development.
But there has been recent discussion of whether 36-week ultrasounds should be routine for everyone.
Studies have suggested that a third-trimester growth scan can pick up abnormalities that weren’t visible on the 20-week scan.
This extra knowledge might help doctors prepare for complications after birth.
But that doesn’t mean that they’re necessary for everyone.
This study suggests that in low-risk pregnancies, a scan toward the end of the third trimester is not necessary as a routine procedure.
That being said, it can be really beneficial if your doctor is monitoring you for specific reasons.
Why do I need a growth scan at 36 weeks?
Let’s just take a moment to acknowledge that this can feel anxiety-inducing and confusing.
Why do they want a scan now?
Take a deep breath. ❤️
Your doctor just wants to do what they can to get you and your baby ready for birth and to ensure you are both as healthy as possible.
If you’re feeling stressed, reach out to your friends, family, and the Peanut community.
You seriously don’t have to do this alone.
In the meantime, we’ll do our best to take you through all the reasons why a 36-week ultrasound is on the table.
What is the 36-week ultrasound for?
A scan may be useful at this point in your third trimester to check if your baby is:
1. Very small or very big
At this point, your baby should be about 18.7 inches long and about 5.8 pounds.
If, during a prenatal visit, it appears that your baby measures much smaller or bigger than anticipated, based on fundal height measurements, a growth ultrasound at 36 weeks will help identify any growth restriction or if the baby is measuring large for gestational age.
2. In a position to take on the world
By this point, your baby should have their head down and their bottom up.
If this is not the case, don’t worry.
Your doctor will discuss the options with you, including exercises you can do to encourage baby to move in the right position.
About three babies in every hundred stay in the breech position, but a late scan may help doctors get ahead of the game.
3. Stocked up on amniotic fluid
That’s the fluid that surrounds and protects your baby and gives them the freedom to move around in your uterus.
If your amniotic fluid is low later in pregnancy, your doctor may want to monitor it through ultrasounds to decide on the safest course of action.
4. Getting the blood flow they need from the placenta
The placenta is the organ that develops during your pregnancy to protect and nourish your baby.
Some health conditions like diabetes and hypertension can cause placental insufficiency, where the placenta can’t deliver enough nutrients and oxygen to the baby.
Ultrasounds can help monitor this so that you get the treatment you need.
What to expect at a 36-week appointment
Your healthcare provider might also use your 36-week ultrasound appointment to check your blood pressure and weight.
They may also take a urine or blood sample if they’re already monitoring you or your baby for specific health conditions
If your labor needs to be induced, you may also be offered a test for group B streptococcus (GBS).
This is a bacteria commonly found in the vagina, bladder, and rectum.
It’s so common that about one in four pregnant women carry it.
It’s pretty harmless to you, but about one in every 2000 babies can develop an infection if the bacteria is passed on to them.
The test is painless and involves a quick cotton-tipped swab in your vagina and rectum.
If they find anything, they’ll probably pop you on an IV of antibiotics during labor.
All pregnancies are different.
There’s no one way to do this.
If it is recommended, a 36-week ultrasound might be a good way to get you prepped for the next part of this beautiful, big journey you’re on.
Good luck, mama! You’re almost there!