by: Sinead

Recently, I had my 20 week scan and was delighted to see my baby again and the little heart beating away. The sonographer was very thorough and at the very end mentioned that the baby’s bowel was brightly coloured so she wanted us to come back next week so that the doctor could re-scan. She was very reassuring saying things like… ‘it is usually nothing’, ‘I’m not concerned’, but then she said that it can be an indicator of a chromosomal abnormality, but it is only a soft indicator and she would only be worried if she had found something else and everything else was normal. Still my heart stopped, I tried to pretend to be fine and everything was ok, I knew my husband didn’t have a clue what was going on as she was speaking directly to me, so when she left the room to make us an appointment for next week I explained what ‘chromosomal abnormality’ could mean and his face dropped. All the way home, I was quiet in the car and he kept telling me not to worry as she didn’t seem worried…but you can’t help yourself can you? We were expecting to be told everything looks great and now we have to wait……

I came into work today and googled ‘brightly coloured bowel at 20 weeks’ and apparently it is called an echogenic bowel, I went on to find the following:

Echogenic bowel: ‘Normally, soft tissues look grey and speckled on scan but if areas in the baby’s bowel look white, this is known as echogenic bowel. This can be difficult to diagnose so, as a rule, it is said to be significant if it looks as white as bone. Echogenic bowel can be associated with chromosomal abnormalities or cystic fibrosis but by far the most likely cause is the baby swallowing blood-stained amniotic fluid, following a little bleed into the sac. This can happen without you knowing; it won’t do you or your baby any harm.’

Sitting at my desk the tears rolled down my face when I read various horror stories from other women online who had been told the same – the whole online search thing can be great at times but can also be dangerous, I felt far more positive this morning before I searched than after! It’s all a bit scary but as I said to my husband on the way home in the car yesterday ‘at least the baby is alive’ and no matter what, we will love this baby with all our hearts.

So do you think too much knowledge is a good thing or a bad thing? Years ago our parents didn’t have the power of the internet. Technology is advancing so fast, I can’t even imagine what’ll be around when I’m old and grey (well I can’t say I’m totally grey-free but you know what I mean!).

Ultrasound scan image