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The Portland hospital

Ultrasound scans and tests

The Ultrasound and Fetal Medicine unit offers both a consultant-led and sonographer-led service. Using state of the art ultrasound equipment, you and your partner can share in the experience of seeing your baby grow and mark the milestones in their development as your pregnancy progresses.

You may also choose to have a 3D/4D scan to further enhance the excitement of seeing your baby as he/she grows.

Scan type

Date for scan

Early Pregnancy and Dating Scan

6 – 10 weeks

Combined Screening Test

11.5 – 13 weeks + 6 days

Fetal Anatomy Scan

19 – 21 weeks

3D / 4D

28 – 30 weeks

Growth Scan

28 weeks onwards

Early pregnancy and dating scan

The first early ultrasound scan provides you and your consultant with important information about the number of babies and the expected date of delivery. The presence of a pregnancy and detection of the fetal heart can be seen from 6 weeks gestation by vaginal scan and from 8-9 weeks by abdominal scan.

Accurate measurements and images are taken of the gestational sac, the crown to rump length of the embryo, to accurately date the pregnancy, and assess the pelvic region to exclude pathology.

Combined screening test

The combined screening test involves serum blood screening in early pregnancy in combination with nuchal scanning and maternal age to identify pregnancies at high risk of complications/abnormalities. The combination of these factors allows the detection of about 85% of Down's Syndrome cases and also those at high risk for Edwards Syndrome (Trisomy 18).

This test is performed between 11.5 -13 weeks +6 days gestation and if the results show an increased risk, a diagnostic test is offered such as chorionic villus sampling from 11 weeks or amniocentesis after 15 weeks.

Non-invasive prenatal testing (Harmony and Panorama tests)

The Portland Hospital provides both the Harmony and Panorama prenatal tests. These tests are designed to detect the three common birth defects: Down’s, Edwards and Patau’s syndrome.

Please click here for more information about the Harmony and Panorama tests

Chorionic villus sampling

A chorionic villus sampling diagnostic test (CVS) is performed between 11-14 weeks of pregnancy. Using ultrasound guidance, a sample of placental tissue is taken using a needle inserted through the abdominal wall or fine forceps through the cervix. The tissue collected is then tested for chromosomal abnormalities.

Preliminary results are usually available within 2-3 working days with a full report available within 2-3 weeks.


An amniocentesis is performed from 15 weeks onwards. Using ultrasound guidance, a sample of amniotic fluid is taken using a needle inserted through the abdominal wall. The fluid collected is then tested for chromosomal abnormalities.

Preliminary results are usually available within 2-3 working days with a full report available within 2-3 weeks.

Fetal anatomy scan

Between 19-21 weeks the anatomy of your baby is scanned in detail so that any information about the many body systems, such as the urinary tract, digestive tract, heart and major blood vessels, brain and others, can be imaged and interpreted. The careful and accurate measurements made during the scan help to monitor the wellbeing of your baby.

Fetal cardiac scan

Consultation and scanning is available in our unit for specialist scans of the heart and major blood vessels. This is carried out by cardiologists and involves comprehensive real-time scanning and counselling to diagnose or exclude malformation of the heart.

3D/4D scan

A 3D/4D ultrasound scan focuses on your baby's face and facial features. It is not a diagnostic scan and therefore does not include measurements of fetal growth or weight. The success of the scan depends on the fetal position and gestation. Care will be taken to ensure that optimum images are obtained, however on occasions examinations may be unsuccessful and/or need to be rescheduled.

A DVD and CD with Jpeg still images and some thermal images will be presented to you at the end of the scan. The sonographer or consultant performing the scan will be able to answer any further questions you may have.

For information about our ultrasound and fetal medicine packages and prices, please click here.

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