Here at Spire Leicester Hospital, we offer first, second and third trimester 2D ultrasound scans and the First Trimester Combined Down's Risk Screen (a blood test and Nuchal Translucency scan).
Specialist expertise to assess if your baby is developing normally
First trimester scans - up to 13 weeks
We offer these scans to women in the first trimester of pregnancy who are up to 13 weeks pregnant, but are unsure of their dates, to ladies who have had problems in a previous pregnancy and would like the reassurance a scan can provide, and to women experiencing problems in their current pregnancy.
Second trimester scans - up to 26 weeks
Usually undertaken at between 20 and 22 weeks, an ultrasound scan during the second trimester checks that that the baby is developing normally (this is particularly important if the mother is carrying twins or has had problems in this pregnancy or a previous pregnancy). A second trimester scan can also determine whether the baby will be a boy or a girl.
Third trimester scans - after 26 weeks
A scan in the third trimester will show the position of the baby and the placenta in the womb and determine whether the baby is small or large for its dates.
Ultrasound scans use high frequency sound waves to create pictures of the baby in the womb. The scans are completely painless and have no known side effects on mothers or babies.
Our early pregnancy scans are performed by Ms Janet Brookes, clinical ultrasound specialist.
First Trimester Combined Down's Risk Screen - Nuchal Translucency Scan
The Combined Down's Risk Screen - Nuchal Translucency Scan involves a blood test and an ultrasound scan.
The Nuchal Translucency scan (NT) - undertaken by a consultant obstetrician gynaecologist Mr Ian Scudamore - is a prenatal test to determine the likelihood of a baby having Down’s syndrome. It measures the thickness of the nuchal translucency (a pocket of fluid) at the back of the baby’s neck, as babies with Down’s syndrome, heart and other chromosomal abnormalities have an increased amount of fluid in this area.
In addition, the scan provides information on multiple pregnancies, accurately dates the pregnancy and some major abnormalities, such as abdominal wall and skull defects. The scan carries no known risk of harm to the pregnancy.
The simple blood test measures the amount of a hormone and a protein that are found naturally in the mother’s blood - substances which pass from the baby to the mother. A computer programme uses the nuchal scan measurement, the size of the baby, the mother’s age and the blood results to work out the mother’s individual chance of having a baby with Down's syndrome. It also calculates the risk of the baby having two rarer chromosome problems called Edward’s syndrome and Patau’s syndrome. The test results only apply to the baby being scanned and not to any other pregnancies.
The best time to perform this screen is between 11 and 15 weeks and six days of gestation - women who are unsure of their dates are recommended to have a dating scan before the screening test.
Combined Down's Risk Screens are normally performed on a Wednesday evening with results usually available the following Monday. For urgent scans alternative arrangements may be possible.