Ultrasound scans are commonly used in pregnancy to monitor the development and well-being of the baby.
Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to create real time images. When performed by a trained professional, in a regulated clinic, scans are a safe way to provide valuable screening information. We do not advise exposure to large numbers of unnecessary scans or attending clinics that are not regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
The purpose of scans
Most women want to have a scan during pregnancy to confirm how many babies they are carrying, the gestation and check the wellbeing of baby.
Scans also look at some of the developing structures in baby and can be a screening test to identify possible problems such as spina bifida.
Early pregnancy scans
A scan performed early in pregnancy is useful to confirm the number of babies, confirm due dates and check baby is in the right place in your uterus and developing normally. This is normally done between 7 and 12 weeks of pregnancy. You will need to have a full bladder for this scan so that your uterus is pushed up higher and can be viewed.
Dating scans are more accurate if performed between 11 weeks and 13+3 weeks.
NHS patients are normally offered a scan at 10-14 weeks of pregnancy. This measures the fluid at the back of baby’s neck. Too much fluid can be an indicator of Down’s Syndrome. A blood test is offered at the same time and the blood and scan results combine form a screening test. Similar to the NIPT test the test looks for Downs, Edward and Pataus syndrome. The NT scan and blood test combined are typically 95% accurate at identifying a bay with these conditions. .
At Private Midwives we recommend an early dating scan and a NIPT blood test, rather than a NT scan and NHS blood test. This is because the results are provided earlier in pregnancy and the test is more accurate.
This scan is normally performed at 18-21 weeks. It is a screening scan and looks in detail at the baby's bones, heart, brain, spinal cord, face, kidneys and abdomen. It allows the sonographer to look for 11 rare conditions. The scan only looks for these conditions, and cannot find everything that might be wrong.
You can find more information on each of these conditions, including treatment options, in these leaflets from GOV.UK:
In most cases, the scan will show that the baby appears to be developing as expected.
This scan will also look at the placenta to see where it is and check it is not in a location that may cause problems later in pregnancy. As the scan is very detailed, appointments are normally about 30 minutes.
A growth scan is normally offered in the later part of pregnancy and measures the bones, abdomen and head of baby to check they are growing at the expected rate.
If your placenta has been low at the 20 week scan, a repeat scan later in pregnancy may be offered to ensure it has moved higher and won’t cause any problem for birth.
Sometimes, other scans are clinically needed. This may include measuring the length of your cervix, checking a particular part of you or baby, monitoring the placenta more closely or checking what position baby is in.
Clients who are entitled to free NHS care (UK) or HSE care (Ireland) are entitled to free scans in pregnancy. What is offered may vary according to your individual situation or location. Appointments are typically in huge demand and you may not get very much choice in when or where your scan is performed.
Private Midwives can include scans as part of your package. We do not perform the scans ourselves, but link with CQC regulated and approved ultrasound companies who can offer the scans.
Private scans give you a choice of date, time, and location to suit you. Also, if you want a particular scan that is not offered free by the NHS/HSE, we may be able to arrange this for you.
How much do private pregnancy scans cost?
You can book a single scan to add to your package. We can give you a quote depending on which scan you want and where you live. Scans in Ireland are more difficult to arrange and we cannot guarantee a private scan service in Ireland.
We also offer a 3 scan package. This costs £350 and includes:
An early scan between 7 and 11 weeks
A dating scan between 11 and 14 weeks
An anomaly scan between 18 and 21 weeks
If you have already had an early scan, you can choose:
A third trimester scan for growth, presentation, or placental localisation
In addition, with the scan package, we will include:
Any additional scans that are clinically needed
If you have booked our Platinum package, the scan package is included at no extra cost.
How are the scans arranged?
We will call you about 2 weeks ahead of time, and we will offer you a range of appointments to choose from. We can vary the location, days and times to suit your needs. Often, evening and weekend appointments are available.
Getting pregnancy scan results
When you are at the scan appointment, the sonographer will explain what they see. You will also have the option to purchase photos and in some cases, a video. You will also be given either a printout of the findings for your clinical notes, or a link to your phone where the results can be accessed, downloaded and printed at home. If there are any problems suspected, your midwife will support you in accessing any expertise or further tests that you may want to have.
More On Antenatal Care
Client Information Booklet
If you would like to know more information of what you can expect from us before making a booking please have a look at our client information booklet