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What happens at an ultrasound

(6 Posts)
hazchem Fri 10-Dec-10 09:20:21

Hi all,

I'm currently 28+6 days and have not had any ultrasounds.

While I would be more then happy to contiune not to have any scans the midwife has requested I have one at about 35 weeks so that we can see where my placenta is. She is particularly keen as I intend to have a homebirth.

I really do not want to know the sex of the baby or have the baby checked for markers ect. Which is why I have refused scans up til this point.

As I've never had one before nor seen one i just wondered if someone could tell me a bit about the process and things like can I have the screen turned away from me? Can ensure they don't do growth checks? How do I ensure they only look at and diagnose for the requested information?

Anything you have to share would be appreciated

deepfriedcupcake Fri 10-Dec-10 10:08:28

Having an ultrasound is absolutely fine, you expose your tummy, they squirt on some gel and move a hand held scanner over your tummy. Not uncomfortable or anything. The scan room is darkened and calm with a bed to lie back on and chair for your partner.

The pics are up on screens, usually one up by the ceiling for you laid on your back (which you could simply ingore or they might be able to switch off) and anyone keeping you company can see the monitor of the person doing the scan (think they might be called radiographers).

They can tell you as much or as little as you want to know - just let them know when you go in. Has your midwife made a note that you don't want growth checks etc? I guess you can ask too. TBH they can usually spot everything straight off even though it looks half blurry to you - we certainly couldn't tell the sex either time but the general shapes and bones are really quite clear at later scans.

What are your reasons, out of curiosity?

I've loved the scans (after the initial nervous 'is everything fine?') and always found the radiographer really helpful.

Have you thought through what to do if the radiographer sees something really obvious that you should probably know about - eg that could affect the baby's safety with a homebirth?

hazchem Fri 10-Dec-10 11:25:37

Deepfried thanks this is very helpful.

In terms of why i haven't had them.

Firstly let me say that i don't mind about scans in general I have no political axe to grind about them. I know people that have had them and people that haven't had them.

I think they can be incredibly useful diagnostic tools but I had several reasons for not wanting to have the scan. Practically after long discussions with my partner we agreed that if there was positive signs for abnormalities we wouldn't have additional tests done eg amnios or act on the information we were provided.
Also my understanding is that dating scans are accurate up to about 5 days either way. Which is just as accurate as the date of my LMP.
On an emotional level I want to met my little one on the day it's birthday. I want to wait until it's born to see it and start the process of getting to know it.

UnpureAsTheDrivenSHOW Fri 10-Dec-10 11:33:21

Ultrasounds are a useful tool but I understand why you have decided against them. Although my friend had one because she knew her lmp was throwing out her care slightly. She wanted a homebirth and knew that it was important they agreed how far along she actually was. She has long cycles, ovulates on day 26. Meant the date generated by her lmp was actually 2 weeks out. Scan was bang on and it helped her get the support for a homebirth.

Anyway, scans here you can choose to see nothing at all. They will turn the screen away from you and turn extra screens off. And if it says on your notes that you're just going for a check of placental position, that's all they will do.

It's very straightforward as described above and if they're only checking the position of the placenta, it won't take more than a minute or two.

deepfriedcupcake Fri 10-Dec-10 13:08:33

That's fair enough, and I hope you have a fab time getting to know your baby, there's nothing like it.

Good luck with the homebirth too, I bottled it on the big day but have friends who said it's the most special thing they've ever done.

louzie Fri 10-Dec-10 16:38:24

I was previously pretty blasé about scans, testing etc. However I lost my daughter at 24 weeks 2 weeks ago and while her condition (bilateral renal agenesis) was completely untreatable, I will never be blasé again. There are many conditions which can be spotted on ultrasound and treated either before or immediately after birth. Low fluid levels , cord and placenta positions can all lead to serious problems if left untreated or undiagnosed.

I never thought for a second I would be one of the tiny number of women whose baby would have such a serious condition (1 in 5000), but now I realise that it was just as likely to be me as anyone else.

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