What is a obstetric ultrasound scan?
Obstetric ultrasound refers to a scan of a pregnant woman to assess the well-being of her pregnancy. Obstetric ultrasound may be used at various stages of the pregnancy to obtain valuable information about the progress of the pregnancy.
Early in pregnancy
Scans are performed to establish due dates, check for twins and assess whether the pregnancy is progressing normally.
Nuchal Translucency measurement
The Nuchal Translucency measurement is an assessment of the amount of fluid in the skin at the back of the baby’s neck.
These scans are performed between 11 weeks and 2 days and 13 weeks and 6 days. The measurements obtained at the scan are combined with blood test results and maternal age to assess the risk of Down’s Syndrome.
18-20 week morphology scan
The term ‘morphology’ refers to ‘the structure of the baby’ – these important medical scans are used to screen for a wide range of structural abnormalities. The sonographer will carefully review the different parts of your baby.
You may bring your partner or another observer to this scan however please remember that it is an important medical examination of your baby, and the sonographer needs to be able to concentrate during the procedure.
For most women this will be a reassuring examination with their baby appearing normal.
In a very small number of women, a problem may be identified. If this is the case further investigations and counselling may be required.
Despite significant improvements in ultrasound imaging, not all problems can be detected with ultrasound.
What preparation is required?
You will be asked to drink 500 mls of water at least one hour before your examination and then not empty your bladder before your scan.
Are there any risks?
Ultrasound has been used in medicine since the 1950’s. Despite many investigations there have been no confirmed adverse effects attributed to diagnostic ultrasound exposure in this time.
After the examination
The images will be reviewed and reported by our radiologist. This can take up to 90 minutes. For your convenience we can generally deliver the imaging and report to your doctor by the next working day. Alternatively your doctor may request that you wait or return later to collect the imaging and report.