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Mothering › Groups › November 2013 Due Date Club › Discussions › Echogenic Bowel

Echogenic Bowel

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi dear mamas to be, this is my first post here (due Nov 22nd) even though I have already learned a lot from you just lurking. I am 38, and today I went to my 20wk ultrasound and the Dr. said they spotted "echogenic bowel." He explained I need to see a "high risk specialist," it could be Down (but I did a Harmony test which came out negative couple months ago), it could be Cystic Fibrosis, other deformities, or maybe it goes away. He shoved me out of the office and left me standing there.

Maybe it is the hormones but I cannot stop crying. I am 20 weeks, and all kinds of thoughts are in my head. Ohio (that is where I am at) just passed restrictions on abortions and my Dr.s office only scheduled the "experts visits" in 2 weeks. Do I have to wait for results then? How long may that take. I am worried that - in case they are positive - it will be too late for terminating. I don't want to terminate, I am happy I am pregnant but I am devastated.

I hate the language by the way "high risk experts"...it makes me more scared.

I am at a loss and hope you can share your experience, strength and hope with me. Sorry that I have not more cheery news. Thank you. bow2.gif

post #2 of 16

Hi-I'm a fellow lurker new joiner.  I just wanted to say that you have alot of vague information that you are crying over.  Prob not downs, could resolve on its own.  Focus on those facts-not just the negative catastrophic thoughts.  Worry when you have something to worry about?  Just wanted to offer support.

post #3 of 16
Hi divanova
We came across your post whilst doing an extensive but upsetting search online and just felt we had to respond to let you know you are not alone in his.
Our much wanted baby is due 20/11 and we had 20 week anomaly scan yesterday which was fine except for the echogenic bowel .
I was absolutely blindsided by this - especially as we have had 3 previous scans 7/12/16 weeks which showed no problems. I also had the harmony test done at 10 weeks which came back as low risk for all 3 conditions.
I haven't been able to stop crying , neither of us have slept . We are physically and emotionally destroyed. We have had the blood tests for the infection and cf genes which won't come back until next week and we have another scan booked with a fms tomorrow. I can't even look at my pregnant tummy in the mirror without feeling sick and feeling the baby kick about is upsetting knowing there may be something wrong. We are unsure what an amino will add having had the harmony but trying to keep an open mind about that
Being so late into the pregnancy is so scary as we feel our time for options is slowly running out.
We live on the other side of he ocean in the uk but just wanted you to know we are thinking of you. Hope all turns out well foe both of us.
Please update us if you feel able.
Much love xxxx
post #4 of 16

Hi mommas, maybe this will help-http://radiopaedia.org/articles/echogenic-fetal-bowel ?  I hope.  If the Harmony tests came back and that's supposed to be very accurate, I'd try to relax and schedule another u/s-level 2 or 3, whichever goes for better info.  And see if you can get the report back sooner to find out the grade of echogenecity.  Any wrong thing on a u/s is super stressful, hope you find answers soon.

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank you so so so very much for acknowledging that this is stressful, and respecting my/our feelings. I already feel empowered to call the Dr.'s office and ask for level and what tests exactly they do with my blood. Thank you for that. I also found some other empoering facts, e.g. in this study 80% of echogenic bowel cases had an uncomplicated perinatal outcome http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20059439, and in other post I read that often it seems to be the case that the ultrasound equipment isn't adjusted right (weird as it sounds) and shows an echogenic bowel if there is none. I thank you so very much for the support and look forward to collect further research and experiences. <3

post #6 of 16

If you have options available, I'd say find a new doctor!  Any doctor, but ESPECIALLY someone giving prenatal/birth/maternity care should be way more supportive, informative, and willing to answer any and all questions from a scared mom.  More than anything you need your care provider(s) on your side right now.  If s/he doesn't have the answers, it's his/her job to explain and reassure to the best of their ability, and refer you to someone who can get you answers right away, not in weeks!  If you have to wait for an appointment anyway, start calling around until you find a clinic that will prioritize your needs.  If nothing else, it'll help you get used to talking about it, explaining the situation, asking the right questions, and give you something proactive to do so you don't go crazy in the mean time.  I'm so sorry you're going through this.  I know even great statistics aren't always comforting when you're fearing the worst.

post #7 of 16

Your doctor should have at the very least explained that the most likely possibility is that there is nothing wrong and this is an incidental finding.  In isolation (when there are no other suspicious findings) an echogenic bowel usually means nothing at all.  It's good to get another look and have some follow up and to be offered further testing, but the level of alarm that the doctor sent you into is really out of proportion to the situation.

post #8 of 16

That's really upsetting, I'm sorry your doctor was so unhelpful! 

Here's hoping it's all just a false alarm!  It sounds like there's an excellent chance that nothing is wrong at all. Hang in there!

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi dears, I just wanted to give you an update.


I went to the "high risk specialist" appointment yesterday my original doctor had suggested and it consisted of 1 hour genetic counseling and yet another ultrasound. The genetic counselor informed us about the risks (Down, Cystic Fibrosis etc) but used a more positive language and said it is more likely than not that none of these consequences will manifest. With the help of this forum I had already found out from my doc before that my blood shows no cystic fibrosis marker, yet the genetic counselor said they test for about 80% of the most common cystic fibrosis mutations, so there is a residual risk -- just as with the harmony test.


Also, I learned from a friend that echogenic organs are more frequently seen in older women (as I said I am turning 39 and this is my first pregnancy). They are more concerning in young pregnant women. In her second daughter they spotted an echogenic heart at week 20, it was there all during the pregnancy up to the birth, and her daughter is perfectly healthy.


The echogenic bowel was still visible on the baby (it appeared brighter), that aside from that shows normal growth. I think I was really expecting that it may have disappeared, yet the doc said, even if it would have disappeared -- once spotted on an ultrasound the risks persist. Echogenic bowels are expected to disappear int he third trimester but may just continue to be there.


I learned in the meantime that an echogenic bowel is more concerning if there is other "soft markers" accompanying the phenomena (as I think also someone said above). The bottom line of the appointment was that they actually just do not know (!) why the bowel shows as echogenic and can tell nothing (!) until the baby is born. They just recommended to monitor the baby's growth more closely, at least once a month, until it is due. They did propose an amnio, which I refused. They also proposed a "fetal echo" (closer heart exam, yet the heart shows normal and has absolutely normal heart beat) which....I cancelled. Because you know what? I have enough for now of medical panic, probabilities that arbitrarily vary depending on the doctor you speak to, the salesman-ethic of selling more and more prenatal tests that will make me worry more and more. For now I am  going with my guts and my heart, and will trust that it is going to be alright. That is ultimately best for my baby too.


Thank you for your wonderful help here.

post #10 of 16

I'm glad you had as peaceful an outcome as can be expected.smile.gif

post #11 of 16

That's good news :)  So they'll do a u/s each month to track everything?  I feel the same way about the medical tests-it can stress you out so much more.

post #12 of 16

Sounds like good decisions, Divanova.  I'm glad they didn't find anything further to worry you! 

post #13 of 16
I just wanted to chime in to say, with my first baby they found echogenic heart at the 20 week ultrasound. It totally scared me, they sent us to see a genetic counselor, told us that it doubled our chances of having a Down's syndrome baby and offered us a bunch of tests. Thank goodness my husband was with me. His reasoning, a 1 in 400 chance that some thing could go wrong with an amniocentesis (the 'very safe' test they were pushing) was more to worry about then a 1 in 500 chance of having a downs baby. We refused the tests and didnt schedule another ultrasound. My son was born perfectly healthy.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
hi, i just wanted to check in and update again as I started the thread. my daughter was born beautiful and perfectly healthy dec 4 2013. thank you mamas for your support!
post #15 of 16
Awesome smile.gif congrats.
post #16 of 16
Congrats !
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