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Pregnancy Scans

A range of pregnancy and baby scans are available within our clinic. Appointments are available daily, including some weekends. Photographs can be given to you as a momento for your baby’s album.

Viability and Dating Scans

Otherwise known as an early pregnancy scan, this is a scan performed early in pregnancy before the 12 weeks nuchal scan. This scan is particularly important for those who have had a previous miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy or for those experiencing pain and/or bleeding in their current pregnancy.

This early scan confirms a pregnancy and ensures the baby is developing in the correct place within the uterus. The presence of a heartbeat can be confirmed at 6 weeks from the last menstrual period. By measuring the baby, the exact number of weeks duration of the pregnancy can be established and therefore the estimated date of delivery of the baby. A twin pregnancy can also be diagnosed at this early stage.

Nuchal Scans

The vast majority of babies are born normal. However, all pregnancies run a risk of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality.

The only way to know for certain if your baby has a chromosomal abnormality is by having an invasive test such as Chorion Villus Sampling (CVS) or Amniocentesis. However, these tests carry a 1% risk of miscarriage.

An invasive test is therefore usually offered only if the risk of a child having Down Syndrome is 1 in 300 or above.

The most accurate way of estimating the risk of your baby having a chromosomal abnormality is to perform a NIPT a blood test. We also recommend a NUCHAL ULTRASOUND SCAN in conjunction with a simple blood test from the mother between 11wks and 13 weeks 5days of pregnancy.

The risk of your baby having Down Syndrome depends upon:

  • The age of the mother
  • The amount of fluid behind the baby’s neck (the nuchal translucency)
  • The level of two hormones in the mother’s blood (BhCG & PAPP-A)

Once all this information is gathered, the estimated risk for Down Syndrome can be established. The results will be available on the same day unless you have an evening appointment when the results are usually available by midday the following day.

The results will be discussed with you and then you can decide if you wish to have an invasive test.

The nuchal scan is an important scan for various reasons:

  • To date the pregnancy accurately if you have not had an early pregnancy scan and are uncertain as to the date of your last menstrual period, have an irregular cycle, have conceived whilst breastfeeding or have conceived soon after stopping the pill.
  • To assess the risk of chromosomal abnormalities.
  • To diagnose multiple pregnancies. If you have not already had an early dating scan, a multiple pregnancy can be diagnosed.
  • To exclude any major fetal abnormalities. Major fetal abnormalities are often visible by 12 weeks of pregnancy, although a 20 weeks scan is also advisable, particularly for looking at the fetal heart in greater detail.
  • To diagnose a miscarriage. Sadly, in a small percentage of patients who attend for a nuchal scan, it is discovered that the baby has died several weeks beforehand, without the woman having any pain or bleeding.
  • Our Consultant Obstetrician is always available in such cases to discuss the reasons behind miscarriage and to discuss the options for further management.

20 Weeks Anatomy Scan

This scan can be performed between 19 and 22 weeks of pregnancy, although 20-21 weeks is the optimum time at which to assess all the baby’s anatomy.

Although a normal 12 weeks nuchal scan is extremely reassuring, a 20 weeks pregnancy scan is advisable in order to check the fetal anatomy. An intensive examination of the baby’s anatomy is made to confirm that there are no major structural abnormalities. An examination is made of the baby’s brain, face, limbs, spine, kidneys and heart. Measurements are taken to ensure that the baby is growing normally. The placenta and volume of fluid around the baby are also assessed.

Well-Being and Growth and Doppler Scans

These are scans performed after the 20 weeks anatomy scan and at any time up to the delivery of your baby.

Measurements of the baby are taken in order to determine the estimated weight and to predict estimated birthweight. The position of the baby is assessed and the position of the placenta, both extremely important in determining the possible method for delivery of the baby. The amount of fluid around the baby is assessed, the presence or absence of fetal movements and the blood flow to the baby through the umbilical cord, ie Doppler assessment. All this information gives an indication as to how well your baby is progressing.

Gender Scans

The gender or sex of the baby can be established by ultrasound scan. The optimum time to do this is from 20 weeks onwards. On occasion, due to the position of your baby, it may not always be possible to determine the sex.

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