An ultrasound is the only way of assessing the development of your baby in the uterus in early pregnancy. Blood tests are sensitive for assessing fetal chromosomes, but not the baby’s heart rate, growth or organs.
That is why your referring doctor, and the Ultrasound Care obstetricians recommend an early fetal structural scan at 11-14 weeks of pregnancy. This scan be done at the same time as the nuchal translucency screening test and is usually performed later than NIPT testing.
What does an early fetal structural ultrasound show?
The early fetal structural scan:
Why scan the pregnancy at 11-14 weeks?
The early structural scan does not replace the Morphology scan which is done at 18-20 weeks gestation; but it can detect approximately 50-70% of structural abnormalities that would have not been detected until the Morphology scan. The earlier detection allows your doctor time for assessment, planning and further testing.
Why do I need a full bladder for an early structural scan?
Fluid in the bladder provides a clear “window” to the pregnancy, and also makes the uterus rise up from behind your pubic bone. When you come for your scan, we will only ask that you drink 2 glasses or water (400mL) and have a comfortably full bladder. A bladder that is too full may make the scan more difficult. If your bladder feels overfull, please let our care team know. as it is important to us that you are comfortable.
Can I find out the sex of my baby at an early structural scan?
Ultrasound examination is never 100% accurate at determining the baby’s sex, and it is even more difficult early in pregnancy. When you come for your scan, please let your Ultrasound Care doctor and sonographer know at the beginning of the examination and we will try our best to determine your baby’s sex, but please understand that it is difficult to be accurate at this early stage.