Being a major provider of private obstetric care The Portland Hospital offers all aspects of antenatal scanning including 3d baby scans and specialised tests such as amniocentesis.
Our Fetal Medicine Unit uniquely offers a Consultant Led Service, provided by Consultants who specialise in fetal medicine. Huge advances in pregnancy ultrasound technology now make it possible for you to participate as a family, with your Consultant Obstetrician or Midwife, in the management of your pregnancy ultrasound screening tests. You and your partner can share the experience of seeing your baby grow and mark milestones in their development.
Affiliation with major teaching hospitals in London ensures that our ultrasound scanning services provide our patients with all the benefits of the recent technological advances. A pregnancy ultrasound scan uses high frequency sound waves to produce a picture of your growing baby. The ultrasound screening test will provide important information on the size, position and wellbeing of your baby. During ultrasound scans a hard copy image of your baby can be taken for you to keep. We can also provide a video taped copy of your scan.
Usually you will have three scans at different stages of your pregnancy.
1. Early Pregnancy and Dating Scan
The first early ultrasound scan provides information on the number of babies due and the expected date of delivery. Pregnancy and the fetal heart can be seen from 6 weeks gestation by vaginal scan and from 7 to 8 weeks by abdominal scan.
This scan is normally carried out either at 6 to 10 weeks gestation or between 11 and 14 weeks gestation when the thickness of the skin at the back of the baby's neck (nuchal translucency) can be measured. A thickened nuchal translucency can indicate a chromosomal abnormality in the fetus such as Down's syndrome.
2. Fetal Anatomy Scan
Between 19 to 21 weeks gestation, the anatomy and many body systems of your baby are scanned in detail. The careful and accurate measurements made during the pregnancy ultrasound scan help to monitor the well being of your baby.
3. Growth Scan
Accurate measurements and scan images are taken of your baby to monitor their growth pattern between 30 to 34 weeks gestation at this ultrasound screening test. The blood flow through the umbilical cord may also be examined at this time using a technique called Doppler.
3D / 4D Scanning - the latest technology means you can actually see your baby growing in 3D
3D / 4D realtime ultrasound enhances imaging and acquires information never before seen in conventional imaging. It provides excellent image quality and is non-invasive.
3D ultrasound shows the body's organs in a different way to conventional scanning, where the examiner imagines a 3D idea of the shape, size and position of the organs. Realtime 4D is the continuous, repeated three dimensional scanning of an object with simultaneous, real time visualisations of the three different planes. Realtime 4D allows movements to be followed. This technique enables not only realtime 4D data acquisition but also real-time visualisation of the three different planes. It is called surface rendering so we are seing what the organs actually look like and the images can be rotated around the three axes in any plane.
What are its uses?
At early stages pregnancy the whole baby can be seen moving about within the uterus, although it may have a strange appearance at early stages. The umbilical cord and the placenta are visible in high quality detail during a 3d baby scan.
Later stages of pregnancy are ideal for obtaining excellent pictures of the baby's face. The optimal time for best images is between 23-28 weeks of pregancy. Also, the position of the baby can affect the pregnancy ultrasound image quality as the umbilical cord, hands or feet can get in the way of the baby's face. For this reason, some patients may need two visits to the 3d baby scan room to get a clear picture.
The 3D ultrasound scan does not replace the medical 2D ultrasound scan. It is not in a medical report format. The 3D scan is recorded on videotape or CD-Rom for patients to take home and watch.
How to Book a 3D Ultrasound
Unlike a 2D ultrasound scan, a referral is not required for a patient to have a 3D / 4D realtime ultrasound scan. We can try to book the 3D ultrasound scan for pregnant ladies who are already coming in to have their medical 2D ultrasound scan.