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
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.
This is a safe, non invasive and highly accurate prenatal test which can be performed from about 10 weeks of pregnancy. It only requires a maternal blood test and carries no risk of miscarriage to the pregnancy.
This test analyses the fetal DNA extracted from the maternal blood and is highly accurate for the diagnosis of chromosome abnormality, in particular Down syndrome. It currently tests for Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18 and 13 and the sex chromosomes. It can be used in twin pregnancies. However, it does not test for all chromosome abnormalities.
Interpretation of the NIPT test must be undertaken by an experienced obstetric specialist or geneticist. The results must be interpreted in conjunction with the Nuchal translucency scan and morphology ultrasound examinations. Positive or abnormal NIPT test results usually need to be confirmed by either CVS or amniocentesis
This test is not currently eligible for a medicare rebate and costs about $500.