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How common is it to get bad news at 20 week scan?

(36 Posts)
weeblueberry Tue 11-Dec-12 20:12:49

I'm having a Weeblueberry Prescan Panic Attack[tm] wink

Seriously. Before every scan I get ridiculously frightened that this is the scan they're going to say it's all gone wrong. I wasn't so worried til I read a thread yesterday where someone mentioned they found out about a heart defect at 20 weeks and had to terminate. I know it sounds so silly but for the first few scans (early and 12 week) I was worried but I wasn't as attached to her as I am now. I can't imagine how I'd cope at this point being told something was wrong.

Sorry for the general blabbering. I'm just wondering how likely it is to get bad news at 20 weeks? I know it's an anomaly scan and that's what it's for...I just suppose I'd always (stupidly) thought anything major would have been picked up before now. sad

RileyTheLittleMonster Tue 11-Dec-12 20:37:15

Very low.. about 1%? It's normal to worry... its not stupid not many woman are aware of the complications in pregnancy. Try to relax smile

itsmyfirsteek Tue 11-Dec-12 23:56:55

Hun I had the same anxiety and still have it every day, my 20 week scan was last week and all was fine. The chances are less than 1 percent so as much as you can try not to worry and just enjoy. The scan is amazing, the things they see and show you are incredible! Good luck xxx

worsestershiresauce Wed 12-Dec-12 08:00:35

I think everyone gets irrationally worried, partly because of the long list of scary things the scan is designed to check for. I got through the scan fine but now worry every day about movement patterns, and I will probably still be worrying 40 years after the baby is born. It's part of being a mum.

Northernlurker Wed 12-Dec-12 08:05:12

Now nearly everybody gets a 12 week scan and that scan is very detailed I think it's very rare that something totally new shows up at 20 weeks but it's possible. Worrying is normal. I'm sure you'll have a lovely scan though smile

forgetmenots Wed 12-Dec-12 14:29:25

When is your scan weeblueberry? I'm sure you will be just fine it is a minuscule number, hard not to worry I know smile

weeblueberry Wed 12-Dec-12 14:36:15

Thanks everyone. The scan is next Thursday so I've got a while to panic yet. wink

I can hear her heartbeat on the Doppler but it's sounded different the last couple of days, like a double heartbeat almost? Am sure it's just the movement inside or a combination of her heartbeat and that of the placenta or something. I'm not putting too much stock in it because I know how unreliable they can be.

Ameliac28 Wed 12-Dec-12 14:37:40

I think it's only natural for you to feel like this coz your growing her inside of you and feel like it's a very big responsibility, I was a nervous wreck on all my scans but luckily everything was fine, I still worry now if I don't feel him move etc but I suppose that's just natural. Try not to worry yourself I'm sure everything will be just fine smile

ChestnutsRoastingonaWitchesTit Wed 12-Dec-12 14:42:04

God I got the fear before my 20 week anomaly scan too. I was almost in tears with the fretting.
There's a history of spina bifida in my family so I read up on everything the sonographer would check for and spoke to her before the scan so she would double check everything (spine, head circumference and skin covering mainly) and go through it with me. Of course i was thrilled that this baby is completely healthy but I was glad I had the worry, in a way, it made me more aware of what could happen and I was prepared for any outcome.

weeblueberry Wed 12-Dec-12 14:59:48

I'm exactly the same Chestnuts. I'd rather read up on all the possibilities so if something does come up I know what to ask about? DP says I'm being negative but I'd really rather just be informed.

EdithWeston Wed 12-Dec-12 15:02:59

It is uncommon, but possible (for they would not scan at both 12 and 20 weeks if there were nothing that could not be picked up at 12).

MyFriendGoo Wed 12-Dec-12 16:46:59

My 20 week scan is exactly a week after yours blueberry and I'm starting to have the nerves kick in! It's perfectly normal to worry....the way I see it, we can't physically look at our little ones every day so it feels like we're kept completely in the dark between scans. No wonder our crazy brains fill us up with unfounded worries. in reality it's very unlikely there will be any probs. Good luck and report back next week!

lljkk Wed 12-Dec-12 16:50:04

What I truly think is very common is for them to say "Hmm, that might be a problem" followed by extra scans & discussions. Culminating in exactly nothing, there never was a problem at all. They were "just being careful". You get stressed out in meantime...over nothing!

HauntedLittleLunatic Wed 12-Dec-12 16:51:43

Also remember that of the small number of people that have problems identified at 20 weeks an even smaller number will have defects that are incompatible with life, many that are identified will allow the foetal medicine specialists to treat appropriately very early in the child's life.

LookingForwardToMarch Wed 12-Dec-12 16:56:23

Try not to worry (easer said than done I know) At our 20 week scan the sonographer said there was a heart defect, the pulmonary valve was too big. I spent a week worrying my arse off! We went for the cardio scan and the consultant said there was absolutely nothing to worry about. I know there are cases where it doesnt end that happily but I wouldnt stress about it, medical science is amazing these days, they can fix alot

LookingForwardToMarch Wed 12-Dec-12 16:56:39


Snowflakepie Wed 12-Dec-12 17:36:16

Obviously there are a few people who get sad news but it is a tiny number. And so much can be done now, especially if doctors know about it and can prepare. It's not weird to worry, far from it, but really there is nothing you can do, whatever is going on will happen anyway. Worry just upsets you. I don't know if that helps but when I start fretting about things that really are out of my control I try to remember that, and calm down a bit. Good luck, fingers crossed for a lovely scan!

Floggingmolly Wed 12-Dec-12 17:41:03

It's just that the 20 week is specifically the anomaly scan, so if there was to be any bad news it's usually discovered here. The chances are tiny; try not to worry.

tasmaniandevilchaser Wed 12-Dec-12 17:46:21

hi there, my 20 wk scan is 2 days before yours and I'm building up for a good old fret about it! I like haunted's fact that only a tiny percentage of problems identified will be incompatible with life, and I will be hanging onto that over the next week.

I don't like the 1% stat as I've had a horrible experience in a previous pg that apparently only happens to 1% of people. I don't feel lucky.

But, ultimately, like snowflake said, it's out of our control, so we might as well relax.

blackcurrants Wed 12-Dec-12 18:20:32

Hello! I'm 38+5 and I did get some bad news at the 20 week scan ... but it wasn't that bad - so in case this is of use: DON'T PANIC! smile

my little boy foetus has hydronephrosis, which is basically 'urine reflux in the kidneys" - wee should be going from the kidneys to the bladder in ONE direction only, but is in fact refluxing back up. So his kidneys are a bit too full of wee. At the 20 week scan they said this could resolve itself before the birth, after the birth, or it might be something that is treated when he's a 3-6 month old baby if he's having lots of UTIs. Basically the ultrasound tech did the tour de womb, the gender reveal, and then said "I'm going to show your film to the doctor now, be back in a minute" and the doctor came back in with her and explained the condition, and how much we should worry about it. She said "Please don't worry about this yet, chances are it will resolve itself before the birth and even if it doesn't, your baby will never remember having had the condition, it's fixable." etc - she was very calming. No one WANTS anyone to 'just go and get the doctor for a moment" but they were very very good.

I went back for scans at 26 and 34 weeks, and each time they said "okay, nothing changed, some on back at xdate." and after the 34 week scan I've been going weekly so they can keep an eye on amniotic fluid levels, as if they drop suddenly I may be induced (So far nothing's changed since october and I'm hugely pregnant and desperate to get this kid out!). Now I'm talking to a pediatric urologist at the hospital where I'm delivering, and working out what the first week of his life will look like (an ultrasound on his kidneys once he's born, then some monitoring and checkups, not much else at the moment, it's a wait-and-see-if-it-fixes-itself condition, really).

My point is: This is a condition they couldn't even detect on ultrasound a few years ago. People only worked out their children had kidney problems when they were 3-6 months old and had frequent urinary tract infections. Now they can see it at 20 weeks but they still don't DO anything in most cases until the baby's a few months old (if they do anything at all). No, it's not as great as a clean bill of health but SOME of the problems they detect at the 20 week scan aren't things you can expend any useful energy on until after the birth anyway.

So I'm saying: don't worry. They might detect any number of things (which wouldn't have been knowable for our generation as babies!) and those things might not even end up being a real problem. Of course there are scary awful things that might be found, but if the technician says "I'm just off to get the doctor" please don't spiral into a panic -it might be something relatively straightforward, like I've experienced. It's not a pleasant feeling but nor is it something very awful, and people are extremely good at keeping you informed and making you feel aware.

Also: good luck and congratulations smile

Blu Wed 12-Dec-12 18:41:40

Like Blackcurrants, problems were discovered at our 20 week scan - and I can honestly say that I am very glad they were found at that point, and it meant I was calm and informed and prepared to just be a new Mum to Ds, rather than feeling worry at the time I should have felt joyful.

No-one can say that nothing bad will ever happen, because of course it can, and you can't believe yourself if you try and pretend otherwise.

1. 'Soft markers'. SO much upset and needless angst has been caused by 'soft markers' found at scans. DS had 2 soft markers: talipes (club foot) and 'echogenic locii' somewhere - heart I think. These were said to be soft markers fo a range of trisomies, 2 of which were incompatible with life. We had amnio and then spent a week in absoute anguish waiting for the outcome which was no trisomies. I then found that soft markers means 'vague unproven suggestion of a link', and that echogenic locii are small concentrations of calcium which are incredibly common and harmless. So that just left the talipes.

2. Knowing that there would be a difference with our baby, the hospital were excellent. They made an appt for us to speak with the paediatric orthopaedic consultant as soon as possible and amongst all sorts of sensible, practical (and therefore re-assuring) info she dismissed the possibility of the trisomies mentioned in connection with talipes as 'rare as hen's teeth'! I talked to other parents, researched ways of addressing talipes, found the online support forums, etc etc.

What's known is easier to deal with.

The chances that anything bad will be discovered are v v small. Picture every packed football staduim up and down the country - all healthy pregnancies and births. The scan is there to HELP with any issues that may arise.

But parenting isn't a fear free environment.Wjat about the conditions which can't be found on any scan, such as ASD? The best we can do is try and get perspective and know that we can get throughm and survive, and that parenting is worth the worry and fear.

(actually when DS was borrn the problem was more extensive than talipes, but it's still ddealable with, and he's an ecstatically happy child, and we are ecstatically happy parents).

weeblueberry Wed 12-Dec-12 21:51:45

Thank you SO SO much to everyone who has replied - I really do appreciate every single one. smile

Particularly from haunted, blackcurrants and Blu which just goes to show that getting 'news' at the scan doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be imcompatable with life (what a bloody horrid phrase...!!). This alone makes me feel hugely better. Thank you blackcurrants and Blu for sharing your stories. smile

AliceWChild Wed 12-Dec-12 22:05:54

I was another one who did get bad news at the 20 week scan. It went from bad, to worse, to worse, to dire, then to better. He's now had the all clear and is wriggling round on his playmat in front of me. grin

Being in this situation, I think I have heard about more people's bad experiences than the usual, as people tended to tell me their tales. And the vast vast majority of those tales were about something that might have been wrong but was fine in the end. There are so many tales like that. So the likelihood of anything being wrong is small, and if anything does crop up it may well be fine. And ime you are treated very very well by the hospital and given heaps of support if the unlikely does happen.

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Dec-12 22:29:53

A friend of mine also had a kidney issue detected at 20 weeks. Baby was put on antibiotics for the first few months to prevent infections and had a minor op at a year old to completely correct the problem. I think it's bloody marvellous that they could spot this so early on, because, as mentioned, if they hadn't found it the baby would have just got ill all the time while they faffed around trying to diagnose it.
So spotting a problem at 20 weeks could be seen as a good thing as they can prepare to treat it. Very rare that they can't do anything.

blackcurrants Wed 12-Dec-12 22:33:25

Yes, exactly!

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