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No dating scan - surely in some cases this could prove a problem?

(72 Posts)
HairyToe Thu 17-Apr-08 22:33:15

The NHS in my local area does not 'do' 12 week dating scans - your first scan is the 20 week anomaly scan.

My other 2 pregnancies were in a different area so I did have 12 week scans with both of them. I was pretty much gnashing at the teeth by then to be honest - couldn't wait to see something 'real' and convince myself it wasn't all in my head. Also obviously to get some reassurance and mark the end of that so-called magic first trimester which is supposed to be the most risky.So in my case I think I will probably look into having an earlier scan privately.

It just got me thinking though. Surely the point of dating scan is to confirm the woman's own dates and therefore ensure she has the 20 week anomaly scan at the right time. Wouldn't not having a dating scan risk her finding out she was further along than she thought she was? And what if there were problems identified at that point which required a decision to be made re continuing with the pregnancy? This would then be risking a very late termination?

I'm not suggesting this is true in my case (pretty definite about my dates) just wondering hypotherically. Are there other ways for medical professionals to ascertain how far along you are without a dating scan?

BoysAreLikeDogs Thu 17-Apr-08 22:36:30

Erm LMP dates are a good indication of due date.

FWIW my local NHS only does 20 wk scans too

Flibbertyjibbet Thu 17-Apr-08 22:44:38

my health authority only started doing 12 week scans recently. I managed to give birth without them!
My 20 wk scan with ds2 was done at 22.5 weeks as my 20 week day was Boxing day and they got a backlog over the xmas holidays. They can tell by the development of the baby how far along you are.

I don't think anomalies show up at a 12 week scan. My friend recently had 12 week scan and 13 week nuchal scan with everything fine. 20 week scan showed a terribly poorly baby - heart, bowel, brain all malfunctioning and she would have died as soon as the cord was cut at full term. She had a late termination. The shock was worse because there had been no warning at all during the two earlier scans. So does the 12 week scan give some a false sense of security I wonder?

LargeGlassofRed Thu 17-Apr-08 22:48:04

Didn't have 12 week scans with my three either, they weren't offered, was a long wait till 20 weeks smile

SlightlyMadSweet Thu 17-Apr-08 22:48:05

There are very few anomolies that would show it at 20wks.

There is only 1/2 real reasons for doing a rouine 12wk scan. 1. Dating and 2. Nuchal fold (not routine in many areas).

There is not really anything else medically to be gained from a 12wk scan.

HairyToe Thu 17-Apr-08 22:48:59

Hmmm - what if the woman gets it wrong. Or in those strange cases where people have had bleeds which they've assumed were periods and are actually 4 weeks further than they thought?

I know these kind of cases aren't the norm and I'm not getting all up in arms about it - after all my Mum's generation didn't have scans at all. Just wondering thats all.

HairyToe Thu 17-Apr-08 22:51:32

Sorry I was reponding to Boysarelikedogs there!

I know 12 week scans are only for dating. I just meant that you may end up having your 20 week scan too late to do anyhting about any severe anomalies which you find out then.

Does that make sense?

SlightlyMadSweet Thu 17-Apr-08 22:51:43

The 20wk scan can be used fo rdating.

Also if a woman measures wring at MW appointments they can be referred independantly. A friend was measuring ahead of dates so had a scan at about 16wks. Her dtes were spot on...she was just incubating a pair of bubbas.

SlightlyMadSweet Thu 17-Apr-08 22:52:49

But the 12wk scan won't detect anomolies even if it offered (apart from high risk for Downs if combined with a Nuchal fold).

HairyToe Thu 17-Apr-08 22:55:37

Sorry Slightlymad I don;t think I explained myself properly. I know the 12 wk scan won;t detect anomalies, just thinking that if you have your 20wk anomaly scan late you wouls be finding out about anomalies later than 20 weeks and would have less time/no time to make your decision.

SO midwife can tell early on whethe ryou're measuring right for dates then?

SlightlyMadSweet Thu 17-Apr-08 23:04:39


The MW checks hte height of your uterus, which will be accurate within a couple of weeks. The MW will be able to feel uterus by at least 16wks - probably earlier (12wks?).

If you are wrong by a whole monthly cycle you would be at least 4 weeks out so that would be detected?

HairyToe Thu 17-Apr-08 23:10:10

Thanks for that - I didn't realise the height of your uterus check could be done early on. You have satisfied my curiosity.

Glad(?) to hear lots of other people haven't had 12wk scans. Reading the threads on here it seemed to be assumed that you would have one and I was feeling all left out!

LaComtesse Thu 17-Apr-08 23:11:10

I had a dating scan about 11wks since I was unsure of my dates and a 20-wk scan but in my case, it was immaterial to me about disabilities or possible birth defects. I knew a woman who had a scan at 6-wks - I can't imagine what they saw.

I wonder if the NHS is trying to save money by cutting out a scan. After all, women gave birth for centuries without scans - they've only been around for about 30 years now.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Fri 18-Apr-08 07:07:10

Seems they change their minds all the time - with my first preg 2 years ago 12 wk scans were not routine here, now they are, However you could have a 12 wk scan if you said you were going to have the triple test so the MWs advised everyone to say they were!

yurt1 Fri 18-Apr-08 07:29:21

You can terminate for severe disability up to birth, so if there's something major going on then you would still be able to terminate if you wanted to.

Most disabilities (including severe ones) do not show in the 20 week scan though.

3 pregnancies in 2 different areas. One offered nuchals (and all sorts of other scans) so for 2 pregnancies I was scanned loads. The other I had one 20 week scan. My child with the severe disability was born in the area that scans loads.

WombFor1More Fri 18-Apr-08 10:06:08

A lot of anomolies can be spotted at 12week scans. That is, that there there are certain things that would show something may be wrong that can be seen on a 12wk scan. Then further tests etc can be offered to see if there is a problem.

Ime with my 1st preg I had no 12wk scan, had 1st scan at 20wks where I was then told my baby, dd, wouldn't survive no matter what and labour was induced the following week. I would much rather have had a 12wk scan and at least been prepared for the possibilitysomething may be wrong, than have had the awful experience that I did have.

From that my opinion now is that ALL health authorities should offer a routine 12wk scan.

MillyH Fri 18-Apr-08 10:23:06

I'm with Womb41more. Except I would say, that everyone should have the combined 12wk scan and blood tests. These are more accurate, and if mine had been had interpreted properly !! angry then I would have not had the hurrendous shock and sadness of being told at 22weeks my little boy would never live.
However - remember there is no guarantee whatever the tests. There is always some chance that things have not been picked up.

RipMacWinkle Fri 18-Apr-08 10:40:01

I agree that you should get both scans. I seem to be in the minority here (up in Scotland) where our Trust only offers the dating scan.

I got that at 14 weeks (so was actually a wee bit late) and then no more scans until DS appeared.

I wished we got the 20 week scan as I was really worried that if there was anything major, 14 weeks would have been too early to spot it.

Lots of people in this area seem to pay for a private 20 week scan for this reason.

eidsvold Fri 18-Apr-08 10:42:55

they don't offer 12 week scans here in the part of Aus where I am but you are given a 20 week anomaly scan which is dated on your lmp and there is a few week window for anomaly scans. The only way to have a 12 week scan is to pay or to have a nuchal translucency screening.

wannaBe Fri 18-Apr-08 10:57:56

when I was pg with ds our health authority didn't offer 12 week scans. They started offering them a couple of years later - something to do with dating so as to combine with tripple test.

There are very few anomalies that can be detected on the 12 week scan as most organs etc are not yet fully formed so any anomaly that shows up is generally just a possibility rather than a definite and imo must increase the worry even more if you then have to wait for further scans/tests.

I think that scans can cause more worry than is necessary - they didn't exist until about 30 years ago and women have been giving birth for centuries without them.

Same goes for all these tests - I didn't have any and wouldn't have any if I became pregnant again - imo they create a false sense of security as there are more disabilities that are not detectable than are.

WombFor1More Fri 18-Apr-08 11:12:24

Wannabe - yes it's true that many anomolies cannot be picked up at 12wks, there are those that can be. Yes also true women have been giving birth without them for centuries but many, many women and babies have lost their lives through the lack of proper antenatal tests and care. IMHO it is in both mother and babies best interests to have the scans offered to rule out any problems. There may be the chance that you are that 1 in however many, who is found to have a problem. In many cases it's better to be prepared ie if it is something not life threatening but can be fixed with the right preperation and treatment immediately after delivery. I'd rather know.

belgo Fri 18-Apr-08 12:41:31

I do think dating scans are important. And yes I know we didn't have them in our parents' generation but I also know of a baby born to friends of my parents who was delivered more then three weeks late and suffered brain damage because of it. All because the doctors wouldn't believe the mother had her own dates correct, and there was no way she could prove how far pregnant she was, this being before dating scans were given.

SlightlyMadSweet Fri 18-Apr-08 13:57:09

I am genuinely interested to know what anomolies can be detected by 12-13wks by scan.

The only one I can think of is Downs via nuchal fold...but Nuchal fold is independant of a dating scan and isn't always offered just because a dating scan is offered.

As others havee said the internal organs are not well enough developed to detect the anomoies which are checked for later in pregnancy.

belgo Fri 18-Apr-08 14:00:13

there's another thread at the moment where the woman got a 12 week scan, but no 20 week scan. I find it appalling.

I have a friend who has had two miscarriages and still isn't entitled to a 12 week scan in her next pregnancy - she's not entitled to any scans until 20 weeks.

Sidge Fri 18-Apr-08 14:07:11

In our area you get offered one scan at 16 weeks. That is a dating/gross anatomy scan. They only offer you an anomaly scan if the 16 week scan shows a potential problem, or if you have a very good reason for one.

A midwife can estimate gestation by feeling the fundal height and would refer on if there was a huge discrepancy anyway.

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