Why Do I Need A Bpp Ultrasound
“Pregnancy can bring on numerous surprises — and some are a little more frightening than others. One that’s probably not too pleasant is the fact that the placenta can sometimes grow abnormally large in size. This condition isn’t dangerous for mom but it does mean that there’s an increased chance of complications for baby. It also means that labor will take longer and might require additional medical attention from doctors.
An ultrasound test called biparietal diameter measurement (BPP) helps detect this problem early so that doctors don’t wait until your child is born before they know about it. The first step in diagnosing this issue is to measure the distance between two points on the outer edge of the fetal skull. Doctors use these measurements to calculate how big your baby’s head should be when he or she is delivered. If the fetus’ brain is growing larger than expected, then it’s likely that the placenta has grown abnormally large. In addition to the ultrasound testing, doctors may order blood tests to determine whether there’s any underlying cause for the growth.
The purpose of the BPP test isn’t just to find out what’s going on with your unborn child; it’s also used to check the health of your baby after birth. For example, babies who were born prematurely often need further monitoring to help them recover properly. Premature infants have smaller brains and lungs than full-term newborns do, which makes their bodies less able to handle oxygen. Monitoring the baby’s brain using BPP testing allows doctors to monitor the recovery process and ensure that the infant is developing normally.
So why perform the test? How does it differ from standard ultrasounds? And what happens if something goes wrong? Read on to learn all about the risks and benefits of BPP testing.
Risks Associated With Biparietal Diameter Measurement Testing
If your doctor thinks that your baby’s brain development is being affected by something like prematurity, then he or she will most likely want to conduct a BPP test. These tests are considered fairly safe, though there are certain potential dangers associated with them. Some of these include:
Infection – As with any invasive procedure, infection poses a threat. When performing the test, however, only sterile techniques will be followed. To keep everything clean and free of germs, the physician will wear gloves while handling the patient. He or she will also cover the area where the test will be performed.
Bleeding – Sometimes patients bleed excessively right after delivery. This is normal, but it can become problematic if it continues or becomes excessive enough to slow down or stop the recovery process.
Abnormal results – While abnormal results aren’t always bad news, if they occur they could indicate a serious problem. Abnormal findings may include hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy and mental retardation.
What Are The Benefits Of Biparietal Diameter Measurement Testing?
As mentioned earlier, one benefit of the BPP test is that it gives doctors a better idea of how the baby’s brain is recovering. They can see how well the brain is functioning and making connections to its surrounding tissues. This information lets them decide how long to give the baby oxygen and special care. In addition, the test provides information about the overall health of the fetus.
A second benefit is that it shows how large the baby’s head is compared to his or her length. This is useful information for both parents and physicians once the baby is born. It can tell them whether the premature baby has been given adequate room inside the womb to breathe and develop properly. If the baby’s head is too small, then extra measures must be taken to improve his or her breathing capabilities.
While the benefits of the BPP test are great, there are drawbacks as well. For instance, the test requires general anesthesia, meaning that it’s not suitable for pregnant women who prefer natural pain relievers. Also, many hospitals won’t pay for the test unless a specific complication arises. In addition, some insurance companies consider the BPP test to be experimental and therefore won’t reimburse for it. Finally, even if you don’t experience any problems after having the test done, you’ll still have to undergo another test later to confirm the results.
Now that you’ve learned all about the risks involved in BPP testing, read on to find out about alternative ways to measure the baby’s head.
Other Ways To Determine Brain Size
After giving birth, most mothers go home and look at their babies through the eyes of a parent, not a doctor. But if you’d rather have someone else observe your child’s head size, you can use an alternative way to get an idea of how big his or her brain really is.
One method involves measuring the circumference around the top of the baby’s head. Then multiply that number by three to obtain the actual size of the baby’s brain. However, since a person’s head is shaped differently, different formulas are needed depending on each individual’s shape. Once you’ve determined the formula, you can compare the result with those obtained from a professional BPP test.
Another method takes into account the baby’s face instead of the head itself. First, place the tip of the tape measure under the chin and pull gently outward toward the ears. Multiply the resulting figure by 1.5 to estimate the total amount of space available for the brain within the skull cavity.
But what if your baby’s head appears smaller than normal? On rare occasions, babies actually appear smaller than average without suffering from any physical handicaps. The reason behind this phenomenon is unknown.
How Is The Placenta Measured During Biparietal Diameter Measurement Testing?
During the BPP test, the doctor needs to measure how far apart the placental border is. Normally, this is measured on either side of the uterus along the center line. However, in cases where the placenta is positioned low in the pelvis, the doctor may need to move up to the umbilical cord insertion site to measure correctly.
Once the placental border is located, the doctor uses calipers to mark the point where the uterine wall meets the placenta. From here, he or she draws a straight vertical line across the surface of the placenta. After doing this, the doctor multiplies the distance between the marks on the placenta’s surface by 0.55 to determine the perimeter of the entire placenta.
This calculation provides an accurate picture of how much room is available for the baby’s head to grow. Once the baby is born, the same technique is used to determine how large his or her head will be.
To learn more about ultrasounds and related topics, look over the links on the next page.
You may wonder how the BPP test differs from the more common ultrasound tests that rely on scanning pictures of the uterus. Both types of scans provide important data about the baby’s overall health, including heart rate and lung function. However, because the BPP scan focuses specifically on the baby’s brain, it provides much more detailed information.”
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