Not having a 20week scan? What can be done for child at that stage?

(36 Posts)
GingerJulep Sat 09-Feb-13 10:22:21

OK, so this seems to be mostly about choices after tests... if it isn't the right places for choices about tests please let me know!

I'm considering not having the 20week scan for the following reasons
1) I personally wouldn't abort (except in case of likely maternal death) after 20weeks
2) I will (anyway) be giving birth within minimal transferring distance of Great Ormond Street which seems to be the alternative suggested outcome in case of most abnormalities that could be found.
3) There is only a /tiny/ chance of them finding anything that can be fixed in utero (some types of diaphragmatic hernia only as far as I can make out from reading up/talking to the screening dept.)
4) Long term effects of scans are unknown (not been done for a generation yet) and there is some evidence that they can alter the handedness of babies, i.e. mess with their brains. Nothing wrong with being a leftie, but definitely not happy about changing the brain of an unborn child for limited potential benefit.

So, what would help me decide for the scan? Some more information on number 3 I think. If there was anything that could/should be done pre-birth it would alter the balance.

Does anyone know of any stats or even anecdotal evidence on this? My MW has never come across anything being done in utero although I do have one friend who had surgery on her/the baby.

Thank you for getting to the bottom of this!

chickabilla Sat 09-Feb-13 12:26:57

If my son's heart defects had been picked up at his 20 week scan or his post natal check, he would have been put on medication at birth until he could have his op. As it was, he collapsed with a cardiac arrest before we knew what was wrong and wasn't expected to survive. Thankfully he did but the long term effects on his heart are a lot worse then they could have been.

MyangelAva Sat 09-Feb-13 14:45:47

So many responses, but I think no one has mentioned checking the baby's growth/ condition of the placenta, for which they can help whilst the baby is in utero.

I personally think that the 20 week scan is very important, not matter what you think you may do in response. I had a 20 week scan that detected a much smaller than expected baby and a major heart condition. Each on their own would have had treatment options, during and immediately post pregnancy.

Unfortunately following further investigation it was found that our beloved baby daughter had a fatal chromosomal condition called Edward's syndrome and that she would not survive outside of my body. Suddenly there were no options but to tfmr.

I think it can be easy to be blasé about the 20 week scan until you or someone you know gets bad news. In the heartbreak of my situation, I was grateful that I had discovered this at 26 weeks rather than at her birth.

I guess it's just all about weighing up the risks but I would say that knowledge is power.

Just a thought.

StupidFlanders Sun 10-Feb-13 05:28:30

I had the same experience as MyAngelAva.
I had previously felt the same as the op.

daisylulu Sun 10-Feb-13 18:35:32

I too used to feel the same as OP.
At my 20 week scan we discovered my DS had no kidneys and as a result no amniotic fluid or developed lungs- a condition incompatible with life. The 20 week scan can at the very least prepare you for having to say goodbye to your child - whether one chooses to take no action or induce the pregnancy . This is not meant to scaremonger but as the question was asked i wanted to answer- It is a desperately horrific situation which made me realise why the nhs offers the 20 week anomaly scan.

squifflybobs Sat 16-Feb-13 01:35:55

hi I had a 34 week scan privately, and as indicated above, it wasn't particularly helpful for any of the diagnostics done at the standard 20 week anomaly scan. I had it for reassurance as a very close family member had a still birth that week due to problems with the placenta ( which weren't and couldn't have been picked up at 20 weeks). They were able to check condition and blood flow through the placenta but not much else as baby was too " squashed".

I had DS1 at UCH,a friend had a son born with a serious heart condition there. This should have been picked up at 20 weeks, but wasn't for some reason- guess they are not infallible. The UCH medical team didn't pick up any problems for several hours and he was extremely sick despite proximity to GOSH. It's usual practice at UCH to discharge after 6 hours even with first baby if normal delivery and all seems ok. fortunately they were kept in overnight otherwise outcome might have been different- he had emergency surgery and is now fine. Thus I'm adding to the view that a ( properly done) 20 week scan will help you be prepared as well as the medical team.

elliejjtiny Mon 18-Feb-13 20:10:24

My DS4 has just been diagnosed with a cleft lip at the 20 week scan. We've been referred to various people and a lot of support has been offered. It's not essential to know beforehand but I'm glad I do.

Olisqueen Mon 01-Apr-13 03:08:58

20 week scan is important, even if you're adamant you would never have a termination(As I was until I was faced with the heartbreaking decision 14 years ago) a lot of heart defects can be picked up , Neural tube defects, some are lethal some aren't but cause paralysis, even if you are prepared to look after a disabled baby would you really not want to know in advance? My first was born with a cleft lip and palate and it wasn't picked up on the scan,16 years ago. My daughter is doing great now but i'll NEVER forget the m/w announcing 'IT's got a cleft lip and palate' (I had chosen not to find out the sex of my baby after a 32 week scan so for her to be called IT in that manner was very distressing) I badly wanted to breastfeed her but it was never going to happen. I would have liked to have been prepared, I didn't even buy any feeding equipment.

BabyHMummy Wed 03-Apr-13 20:33:08

A friend of mine found out baby had hydroccephuls (sp?) at their 20 week scan. Without knowing this the specialist treatment could not have been in place o. Birth and a gorgeous little baby boy would have almost certainly have died.

There is no real evidence that scans cause harm and why would you not want your baby to have the best possible start?!

Apart from the fact you could be prepared for any eventuality that might occur you have to consider that 34 weeks is too late for anything to be done if baby isn't growing as expected never mind the hospital prepared for problems with placenta position.

It is ultimately your choice but think very carefully. The study you have read was not completed and was inconclusive.

MrsHoarder Thu 04-Apr-13 09:21:48

I think you've been given plenty of reasons to have the scan, and I would just like to dispute your claim that they haven't been in place for a generation: my dm had scans (I know because my scan picture is in my baby book) and there is no obvious ill effect on me and my contemporaries compared with the cohort born in the previous decade.

How Woolf you feel if your lo was one of the rare cases that it wouldmake a tell difference for to find out at 20weeks gestation?

loveisagirlnameddaisy Thu 04-Apr-13 13:49:40

I have to say, I agree with the overwhelming majority here who are advocating the scan. I never thought twice about having it, and tbh, would need far more compelling scientific evidence that scans are more dangerous than they are helpful than you appear to have.

As an example, there was the baby on OBEM a couple of weeks ago with the diaphragmatic hernia and the crash team was in the delivery room ready to intubate the baby should his lungs be too small to cope. Heartbreakingly, the baby died at 6 days old, but can you imagine the scenario if the medical staff were unaware and expecting a healthy baby. I presume he would probably have died shortly after birth leaving his parents bewildered and devastated. I got the sense that they felt better able to cope with the eventual outcome because they'd had 20 weeks of knowing what was ahead.

weebarra Thu 04-Apr-13 13:55:06

I had a 20 week scan which failed to pick up my DS2's life threatening heart defect. He arrested at 10 days old and had to have surgery.
I am now 18 weeks pregnant again and will be having both a 20 week scan and a 22 week cardiac scan.
Hopefully everything will be fine with this baby, but if it is not we will be prepared as much as we can be for any consequences, and more importantly, the medical staff will also be prepared.

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