Routine ultrasounds are performed throughout your pregnancy to monitor the development and growth of your baby. It is important to know that ultrasounds are very safe in pregnancy.
This scan helps to provide an accurate dating of your pregnancy and confirm if there is a heartbeat, and also confirm if this is one or multiple babies! I usually recommend this scan between 7-10 weeks of your pregnancy.
First Trimester Nuchal Translucency scanning (NT scan)
This scan takes place between 12 - 14 weeks of your pregnancy and performed together with a blood test (measuring early pregnancy markers ie Papp-A and beta hCG). This scan screens for a risk of chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome. Together with the blood test, testing for Down Syndrome is ~90% accurate.
Depending on the results, if you are high risk, we may suggest further testing. An alternative to the NT scan is the cell free DNA test (NIPT), which has a ~99% testing accuracy for Down Syndrome.
If your NT scan result returns as high risk, the NIPT is also an option prior to invasive testing such as amniocentesis. However, NIPT is also a screening test and not a diagnostic test.
Second Trimester Fetal Morphology scan
This scan is done between 18 - 20 weeks of your pregnancy and we will look at your baby’s anatomy from head to toe, going through a list of anatomical features. If you wish, the baby’s gender can usually be determined at this scan if your baby is cooperative!
If you’re high risk i.e. multiple pregnancies, diabetes; we may recommend more ultrasounds to monitor the healthy growth welfare of your baby.
Most low risk pregnancies do not require a growth scan. On some occasions, I may recommend some growth scans especially if there is a history of previous small baby(ies), large babies, diabetes and high blood pressure. In some women, if the placenta was noted to be low on their 18-20 week scan, then I may also ask for another scan to check if the placenta has moved away.
If you would like more information or to make an appointment, please give our rooms a call at 02 9629 3559.
Dr Adeline Chan is a female obstetrician in Sydney, servicing the Western Sydney and Hills District region.