Considered a very safe method to accurately monitor your unborn baby, Obstetric Ultrasound is used by specialists to investigate the health of both you and your baby, throughout pregnancy. Images are taken using a series of harmless high frequency inaudible sound waves. Tests have proven that sound waves at this frequency are safe and non-irritating for both you and your unborn child.
Obstetric ultrasounds go by a variety of names, including: pregnancy ultrasounds, baby ultrasounds, pregnancy scans, and fetal ultrasound, to name a few. Marina Radiology employs sophisticated imaging systems to produce high quality images for obstetric monitoring and diagnoses. Our professionally trained and accredited sonographers and doctors undergo regular specialist seminars and training to ensure they continue to provide you with superior care.
Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound
A nuchal translucency scan is a type of ultrasound which is ideally performed between weeks 12 and 13 of gestation. It is used, in conjunction with a blood test, to help determine your baby’s risk of certain chromosomal abnormalities.
Nuchal translucency (NT) refers to the pocket of fluid at the nape of your baby’s neck. In some chromosomal disorders, the thickness of this region is greater than would be in a foetus of the same age with no chromosomal anomalies.
This examination can only be performed during a specific period of the pregnancy – weeks 12 and 13 of gestation. The reason for this is if the scan is performed before week 12, your baby will most likely be too small to perform the necessary measurements accurately and, if performed after week 13, your baby’s lymphatic system may have absorbed any excess fluid.
Your practitioner will also refer you for a separate blood test. By combining both sets of results a more accurate calculation of your baby’s chromosomal anomaly risk level can be ascertained.
Obstetric Ultrasound Preparation
When attending your appointment, please bring your referral from your medical practitioner, Medicare card and any other relevant health care cards. Please also bring all films of previous scans taken during your pregnancy. To allow adequate time to conduct the procedure, please ensure you arrive on time for your scheduled appointment.
To ensure the clarity of images it is important that you attend your appointment with a full bladder. To achieve this, one hour prior to your appointment empty your bladder then drink at least 500ml of water immediately after. You can eat and take any medication necessary as per normal however are asked not to empty your bladder again until after your appointment.
During the procedure
To assist with conduction of the ultrasound waves, ultrasound gel will be applied to your abdomen. A hand held probe, which transmits, receives and consolidates the ultrasound waves, will then be moved over your stomach. The scan will not cause any pain or discomfort to either yourself or your baby. Depending on the position of your baby, the scan can take between 15 to 60 minutes in duration.
As a diagnostic tool, ultrasounds are extremely accurate. On the rare occasion though, some abnormalities may be undetectable at the time of your appointment, due to normal variations such as the position or age of your baby. It is not unusual for the sonographer or radiologist to request subsequent scans or tests and should not be a cause for alarm.
Your images will be ready for collection shortly after completion of your study. Should you wish to collect your images at an alternate time simply arrange this with one of our friendly reception staff. Your referring practitioner will receive a copy of your report, and can also gain access to your images electronically.
Our staff is here to help, so they are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Please be aware however, that sonographers are unable to provide specific information about your scan. This information will be given to you by your referring practitioner, hence Marina strongly advises you to schedule a follow up appointment with your doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Determine the gestational age of your baby
- Monitor the growth of your baby
- Establish the number of babies gestating
- Check for any potential abnormalities
- Investigation following bleeding or other complications