To detect abnormalities such as the amount of amniotic fluid.
Are pregnancy scans safe?
Ultrasound scans have been used for many years, and there are no known risks to you or your baby from having the routine scans offered in pregnancy when they are performed by qualified practitioners.
What scans are offered by the NHS?
All pregnant women in the UK that have straightforward, healthy pregnancies are being offered two scans from the NHS: the early pregnancy scan and the anomaly scan.
The early pregnancy scan
This scan takes place at around 12 weeks and it is your first baby scan provided by the NHS.
This scan will confirm that you are pregnant and check that the baby's heart is beating.
The pregnancy will also be dated by measuring the bay's CRL (crown-rump length).
The anomaly scan
This scan is offered between 18 and 21 weeks and the sonographer will check your baby’s heart, brain, bones, spinal cord, face, kidneys and abdomen to check for a range of conditions.
What scans can you have privately?
Other than the routine NHS scans, you can have a wide range of pregnancy scans available privately. Large numbers of mothers choose to have add on private pregnancy scans as they are not satisfied by the two scans offered by the NHS.
Early Pregnancy scan
This scan also known as a viability scan is being offered between week 6 and week 10 of your pregnancy. The test will confirm the heartbeat and from week 9+ you should be able to see the head and limps.
It is possible to identify the sex of the baby using ultrasound. This scan is offered from 16 to 34 weeks. The sonographer at your 20-week scan should be able to tell you if your baby is a boy or a girl but sometimes due to baby's position is not always possible. Just bear in mind that this test is more accurate as the gestation age increases.
3D and 4D scans
Ultrasound technology is so advanced these days that it is possible to have 3d and 4d scans of your baby. In the second half of your pregnancy,
The difference between the 3D and 4D scans is that the 3D is a static 3-dimensional image of your baby when with the 4D you can see that baby in 3D but with the added dimension of time so you seeing the baby live. In 4D you can see baby movements and you might see things like the baby sucking their thumb, stretching, yawning and kicking.
The best time to have a 3D or 4D scan is around week 26 to 32 as it will be enough fat around the baby to get some awesome looking images.
The price you’ll pay for a non-NHS scan depends on the type of scan you want to have and the location. it is very common to find prices of pregnancy scans in London from as low as £30 but these scans are a marketing gimmick as they are short and sometimes increase anxiety.
Unfortunately, it is very common that the scan might uncover a problem. The potential action related to the problem will depend on the abnormality detected. In most cases, a follow-up scan might be necessary and the sonographer should be able to explain the next steps.