All about pregnancy scans
The majority of scans are performed by an sonographer using an ultrasound scanner.
From the moment your pregnancy is confirmed you'll have roughly 10 routine antenatal appointments with the NHS for your first baby, or around 7 with subsequent children. The tests are not compulsory and they can take place in a number of different locations such as at home, in a children's centre, in your GP surgery or in a hospital. You may be asked to go to hospital for your ultrasound scans.
Also known as the "Dating Scan", this will be your first ultrasound scan and makes sure that all is well with your early pregnancy. The scan will check when your baby is due, how many babies you are carrying and your baby's heartbeat. It will also check to ensure that your foetus is located in the uterus rather than a fallopian tube (which is called an eptopic prengnancy). Normally the clinician will perform this scan with an ultrasound scanner. It takes around 10 minutes.
This test is a genetic test screening for Down's Syndrome and other chromosome disorders. There is a fold at the back of the baby's neck (Nuchal Fold) which can be measured for excess fluid, which is an indicator of some genetic disorders. The test is not absolutely conclusive - and there are other tests such as an amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, which are more invasive but are conclusive tests. It's important to be tested during 11-14 weeks as the nuchal fold becomes less transparent as your baby grows.
Anomaly or Anatomy Scan
This is a detailed anatomy scan of your growing baby carried out with ultrasound. The clinician will take measurements from head to toe, and look at the major organs including the heart, brain, stomach, kidneys, spine and limbs. It's also possible to tell the sex of the baby so do mention is you'd like to keep your baby's sex as a surprise. The clincian will also note the position of your placenta and the quantity of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby. You'll be offered a sonogram (a screen print out) of your baby in utero which are treasured by parents.
There are private companies which offer 3D and 4D scans, which include photo-album quality print outs and DVDs of your baby's movements. Please check with your GP or midwife whether these are safe for your pregnancy before you book.
Fetal Growth Scan
This are wellbeing check ups for you and your baby. This is sometimes only offered to mothers who have a complex pregnancy such as multiples, a pre-existing medical condition or other complications in pregnancy.
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