Why do I need an ultrasound when I’m pregnant?
As your pregnancy develops, it’s important to learn critical information such as how many babies you’re carrying and when your baby is due (and that’s just the start).
If there are any issues with your pregnancy (such as the position of the baby, the location of the placenta or umbilical cord), it’s best to know about these things as early as possible.
Getting the right start for your baby
All women wish for a problem-free pregnancy. However, around 5% of pregnant women are at risk of having a health issue with their baby.
This may occur more if you are an older mother who is pregnant for the first time but a fetal abnormality can occur in any pregnancy for a mother of any age.
At Newcastle Ultrasound, we can examine you to detect any chromosomal, genetic or physical abnormality in your unborn baby.
We offer a number of tests – some invasive and some less so.
Generally we recommend that you have a nuchal translucency scan at 12-14 weeks of gestation and a morphology scan at 18-20 weeks of the pregnancy.
In a nuchal translucency scan, we measure the level of fluid in your baby’s neck using ultrasound. All babies have some fluid in the back of their necks; however, babies with Down Syndrome tend to have more.
Another test that helps us to assess any risk of a fetal chromosomal abnormality in your baby is Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT). NIPT is a safe, highly accurate prenatal blood test that analyses cell-free fetal DNA in your own blood to detect any fetal chromosomal abnormalities.
Should we find a problem (either chromosomal or physical) then we might ask that we do more testing such as CVS or amniocentesis.
We care for you and your baby
We always carefully counsel our patients when we identify any risks – before we continue with any invasive tests.
Fortunately, most of the time the test results are normal.
NOTE: While these types of testing can accurately determine a chromosomal abnormality, it is important to understand that no prenatal diagnosis test can tell us how severely affected a baby with a chromosomal abnormality might be. Also, this type of testing will not be able to exclude all abnormalities even if the chromosomes are normal.