This is because blood tests for Down syndrome are not very accurate if you are having more than one baby. Instead, you will be offered a nuchal translucency NT scan. This measures a collection of fluid under the skin at the back of a baby's neck. What happens during the dating scan? The dating scan will take between five minutes and 10 minutes. Nearly all scans after 10 weeks can be done through your tummy, and most units ask you to come with a full bladder. The sonographer will put some gel on your tummy and will move a small hand-held device a transducer over your skin to get views of your baby.
If your uterus womb is very deep in your pelvis, or if you're overweight , you may be offered a vaginal scan , which can get nearer to your baby. It shouldn't be uncomfortable, and you don't need a full bladder. You'll be given a report of the scan which will tell you exactly how many weeks pregnant you are. Keep it with your maternity notes so your midwife and anyone else involved in your care can see it.
How big will my baby be at the dating scan? Your baby is measured from head to bottom. This measurement, known as the crown rump length CRL , is very accurate in the first trimester. After 13 weeks your baby can curl up and stretch out, so measuring the length becomes less accurate. Then the circumference of the head becomes the best way to measure your baby NICE At 10 weeks, your baby measures about 3cm At 12 weeks, he measures between 5cm and 6cm At 13 weeks, he measures about 7cm Can I have a screening test at the same time?
Some hospitals and private clinics offer a dating and screening scan at the same time. If you are having a screening test for Down syndrome , you'll be offered a dating scan first. The test needs an accurate due date to be reliable NICE , UK NSC , RCOG , as hormones in your blood vary according to your stage of pregnancy. Without an accurate due date, a blood test at what you thought was 13 weeks wouldn't be helpful if you were 16 weeks pregnant when the blood was taken.
It may lead to you being given a high risk factor when your baby is actually developing normally false positive result NICE , Gray and Ward Nuchal translucency can be measured from 11 weeks to 13 weeks plus six days, or when the head-to-bottom measurement CRL is 45mm to 84mm. This estimates the risk of Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities.
A combined NT scan and blood test gives a more accurate diagnosis than an NT scan alone. This is available in most parts of Australia. Are there any disadvantages to having a scan? Sometimes, having a scan can cause unnecessary worry. It may show a very minor problem, or something that may get better on its own. As with all screening tests, there can be false positive and false negative results.
For example, about one in 20 women will appear to be at high risk, from the nuchal translucency scan to assess the risk of Down syndrome. However, most of these babies will turn out not to have Down syndrome. It is entirely up to you whether or not you have a scan. You could have a dating scan, without NT screening, or even change your mind on the day of your scan. It's used to see how far along in your pregnancy you are and check your baby's development. Your midwife or doctor will book you a dating scan appointment.
It will usually take place at your local hospital ultrasound department. The person performing the scan is called a sonographer. You may need to have a full bladder for this scan, as this makes the ultrasound image clearer. You can ask your midwife or doctor before the scan if this is the case. The scan usually takes around 20 minutes. What is the purpose of the dating scan? The purpose of the dating scan is to: Does screening for Down's syndrome happen at this scan?
Screening for Down's syndrome will happen at the dating scan if:
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Also of Interest
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