Richmond Practice - Early pregnancy and ultrasound scans

Early pregnancy and ultrasound scans
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Some women start to suspect they may be pregnant soon after they conceive, while for others the suspicion starts when their period doesn't arrive.

You may experience all, some, or none of these early signs:
  1. Prickling, tingling nipples
  2. Spotting and cramping
  3. Feeling sick
  4. Tender, swollen breasts
  5. Fatigue
  6. Needing to pee frequently
  7. Darkening of your nipples
  8. Altered sense of taste
  9. A missed period
  10. The proof, a positive pregnancy test.
So now you're pregnant, congratulations! There are, of course, many decisions to make along the way, for example:
  • which ultrasound scans do you want?
  • do you want to know the sex of your baby
  • do you want to breastfeed?
The main points of contact for advice and the most up-to-date information are your gynaecologist, doctor or midwife.

Important scans in early pregnancy

You can have the first pregnancy scan, called the viability or dating scan, at 6 to 11 weeks gestation. It confirms the pregnancy, checks whether it is one child or more and calculates the date when the baby is due. It is especially important to have this done if bleeding or pain has occurred, or if the likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy exists. This scan can show the gestation sac, (indicating a healthy pregnancy) and the embryo. The fetal heartbeat is normally visible from 6 weeks onwards. This scan is usually done vaginally to allow a clearer picture of the baby.

The second scan you can have, from 11 weeks and 2 days to 14 weeks gestation, is the nuchal translucency (NT) scan. The NT scan is a part of Down's syndrome screening. This is the first chance to examine the baby in detail. To get a more accurate risk calculation of whether the baby may have Down's syndrome, the NT scan measurements are combined with a blood test and maternal age. At this stage, the head, chest, heart, abdomen, stomach, bladder, arms, hands, legs as well spine can be seen.

Between 14 weeks and 20 weeks you can have a reassurance scan if you experience any bleeding and/or pain. This scan will check the fetal heartbeat and measure the head, tummy and leg length and the amount of amniotic fluid.

From 17 weeks you can have a gender scan to check the baby's sex, if you wish.

From 18 to 23 weeks you can have an anomaly scan. By this stage the baby's organs are well developed. This detailed scan checks for a normal body structure. The checklist includes the brain, face, heart, lungs, bowels, stomach, kidneys, bladder, arms, hands, legs, feet, spine, the placental position, cord insertion and the amount of amniotic fluid.

Elsbeth's Doctors provide all of these scans.



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(in business hours)

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