The Fetal Medicine service at NewLife provides care for pregnant women by doctors with extensive training in ultrasound scanning and fetal medicine.
The fetal medicine team conduct a variety of Ultrasounds and Invasive Tests with Ultrasound to determine the wellbeing of the fetus.
Our ultrasound scans are performed to the highest standards and are backed-up with informative and sensitive counselling.
- The 11-13 weeks scan - This scan is carried out from 11 weeks to 13 weeks and six days. The scan is usually performed trans-abdominally but in a few cases it may be necessary to do the examination trans-vaginally. The aim is:-
- To date the pregnancy accurately
- To assess the risks of Down's syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities (nuchal scan)
- To diagnose multiple pregnancy.
- To diagnose certain major fetal abnormalities. Major abnormalities may be visible at this gestation but a 20 week anomaly scan is essential.
- To diagnose early pregnancy failure.
- Anomaly scan - This is a detailed scan at 20-22 weeks of pregnancy. During the scan we examine each part of the fetal body, determine the position of the placenta, assess the amount of amniotic fluid, and measure fetal growth. Special attention is paid to the brain, face, spine, heart, stomach, bowel, kidneys and limbs.
- Wellbeing scan - This ultrasound scan is usually carried at about 32 weeks of pregnancy. This scan aims to determine the growth and health of the fetus by measurement of the size of the fetal head, abdomen and thigh bone and calculation of an estimate of fetal weight. The scan would also assess the baby's movements, placental posistion and appearance, the amount of amniotic fluid and blood flow to the placenta and fetus by colour Doppler ultrasound.
Invasive Tests with Ultrasound
- Chorion villus sampling - Chorion villus sampling (CVS) involves the examination of chorionic villi (placental tissue). Both the baby and placenta (afterbirth) originate from the same cell and so the chromosomes present in the cells of the placenta are the same as those of the baby. Local anaesthetic is given. A fine needle is then passed through the mother's abdomen and a sample of villi is taken. The needle is carefully observed using ultrasound scan. The procedure lasts 1 minute and afterwards we check that the fetal heart beat is normal. The results for Down's syndrome and other major chromosomal defects are usually available within 3 days. The results for rare defects may take 2 weeks.
- Amniocentesis - Amniocentesis involves the examination of cells in the fluid from around the fetus (amniotic fluid). The cells in the amniotic fluid originate from the baby and so the chromosomes present in these cells are the same as those of the baby. Amniocentesis involves passing a thin needle into the uterus in order to remove a small volume of amniotic fluid. The needle is carefully observed using ultrasound scan. The results for Down's syndrome and other major chromosomal defects are usually available within 3 days. The results for rare defects may take 2 weeks.