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I wasn't totally thinking, 'There is something wrong here', because I hadn't, it was the first scan I'd ever been for, so I wasn't, I wasn't totally aware that there was something wrong. Now, of course, I would be, and talking to friends and family, you know, they've all been through similar scanning processes with their babies and I just, I didn't realise how far something had gone wrong, really.
Had he talked to you much during the first session that you had with him? He was quite, he was very, very quiet. But I thought that was normal, so yeah. He hadn't said that he was going to be quiet? No, he hadn't said anything, no. I wasn't aware of how scans work, and no, I just thought, I did, I had a slight inkling something may be wrong, but in all honesty I thought it was how a normal scan would proceed. And what happened when they called you back? Again, I think it was him doing the scanning, but I was introduced to a midwife - no, a Sister - who was there, and there was a few other people in the room.
And then I think they immediately said then, 'We think there's something wrong with the baby. It was the Sister, who was quite comforting, came up to the bed and held my hand and said, 'We think there's something wrong.
It could be an indication of any number of problems, [um] but there is something wrong with your baby. It later turned out her baby had a serious chromosomal condition Edwards' syndrome , and the couple decided to end the pregnancy. A mother who did not discover until 20 weeks that her baby's brain was not formed anencephaly had since heard that the condition can sometimes be picked up at the dating scan, although it was not in her case. She would have preferred earlier diagnosis. And how has it affected your feelings about screening now that you're pregnant again?
Did you do anything differently or. Yeah I feel that, you know, obviously it's opened my eyes about the triple test.
I had the triple test. I'm not so closed minded about that amniocentesis or anything like that, or anything that they can do during pregnancy to find out, you know. Obviously it would worry me. There would always be a worry in the back of my mind if I had to go down that road whether it would harm my chances of this pregnancy lasting, but it wouldn't close my mind off to it, because it means that, it makes me more aware and more in control if I know than if I don't know.
Because if it, the not knowing is the thing that hurts more than, you know, the being in control. Finding out that, you know, talking to the person, the head radiologist in [city] who dealt with neural tube problems, he said that it could have been picked up from 12 weeks, at the dating scan, if it was being looked for. Now that, you know, you kind of think, 'Well, 12 weeks, that's, okay, that's early, but if I'd known at 12 weeks then I wouldn't have had to go through 8 weeks of not knowing and then have the heartbreak of it at 20 weeks'.
And, you know, if you were informed earlier, then there's a lot more decisions that you'd be able to make then than having to wait all that time of not knowing and wondering, and all these different questions that you have to ask and things like that. For people who have discovered at a week scan that something was wrong, scans in future pregnancies are nerve-racking, but they are also relieved and reassured if they can see the baby is alive and well.
A mother who had four miscarriages before her son was born with heart problems commented on how difficult it must be for staff to give bad news, but also described a really positive experience in an early heart scan at 14 weeks in her current pregnancy. Well to me, the twelve-week scan for the miscarried children were - well, they were horrific.
And that's not because of the way that they were handled, but just because I, because of what was in my head when, when I actually went in to the scan room. I never dared at any time hope. I always had it in my head that it was going to go wrong, and even with the pregnancy that went on to my son, I still, every time I had a scan, I always thought this is the one where they're going to tell me that the baby has died. How quickly in the first one did you realise something was up?
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Did she suddenly go quiet or lean forward? That would be the second miscarriage. Yes they, they do and it must be so difficult for them.
I mean, it really must be. Because, I mean, with the second miscarriage you, I didn't think that - oh, I don't know really. I didn't think that it would happen again. Although you're terrified, I didn't think it would happen again.
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But they're, you see them looking, and they always say to you, 'Well, look, we're going to go, if we go quiet don't worry. We're sort of, it's a very detailed thing we're looking for and ' Yeah, and then they just sort of say, 'I'm really sorry, but we can't find a heartbeat. And I, you would think that I would never go near a scan again, considering the bad news that I've had from them but I think it's just, it's a lot of people's lifeline to know that - well, it's the only way that they can find out.
The woman who did the scan was fantastic.
I'd never had her before, and obviously when I walked in and saw that it wasn't the doctor that I expected, I thought, 'Oh my God, this is going to be someone who doesn't know what they're doing. It's just a junior person. She put my mind at rest. She made it, she built up a rapport with me and my husband straight away, and I went in there, although I was terrified, she made me feel very relaxed at the start, before we'd even sat down.
Which I suppose is good, but then in some ways it might be setting you up for a big fall. But I mean, luckily for us it wasn't that. But she was really good, and as she was scanning me she was talking to the baby and saying, 'Oh God, he's a cheeky little thing, he's jumping up and down' and it just really made me feel at ease. I mean I met, I saw her for half an hour, but in that half an hour she made me feel as if she really enjoyed her job, she wanted to do it.
She didn't come in and say, 'Right, I'm not going to talk to you now for half an hour. Please don't talk to me, don't disturb me.
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And she did say that, but she said it in a much nicer way. Yeah, it was, it just put me at ease, it made me feel more comfortable. And you said that she put both of you at your ease. Did she pay particular attention to your husband? Yeah, my husband's a very jolly chap, and he's very jokey, he loves chatting to people.
And I think the husband is always, in every scan I've ever had, the husband is sort of like just someone that sits in the corner and is there to offer a bit of support. That's, I think, how the sonographers feel. But she, yeah, she had a, chatted with him, had a conversation, laughed and joked. I mean, I asked her and I know I shouldn't have done, I asked her if once she'd done the heart scan, if she would check for the sex of the baby.http://leondumoulin.nl/language/drama/3625-laguna-cove-a.php
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And she sort of jokingly said, she went, 'Look, the heart is the size of a grain of rice. And she said, 'Come and sit down here. Have you ever talked to him about how, whether he's felt kind of sidelined in'? I haven't but when this happened with this scan, I said to her, I said to him, 'How did you feel about that? It was my child as well. Occasionally, however, communication seems to lack empathy, as described by a woman who had ended her first pregnancy because her baby had anencephaly [undeveloped brain] and who had a bad experience with the week scan in her next pregnancy.
The senior member of staff walked in, didn't ask us any questions, how far along we were, any kind of past history, or anything like this, didn't even look at the notes, put the scanner on and kind of after scanning around for a bit, took the scanner off and started saying, 'Well, why have you come this early? We're meant to be, you know, you're meant to, dating scan between 10 and 12 weeks. That's why you sent us the scan. And our midwife spoke to someone in the ultrasonography department, and they said that they wanted us, because of our past history, because we had an anencephaly baby, you wanted to scan us at 10 weeks just to, so that it gave you more time to prepare to then do another scan at 16 weeks, which is the original plan'.
And she said, 'Oh, well, I can't make out the baby. You're going to have to go and - we're going to have to do an internal scan'.
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And I said, 'That's fine'. And she turned on me as well and said that, 'Did I.
And she then turned on me and said, 'I can't do that'. And I said, 'You can, you can tell me if my baby is in the right place or it's, you know, you know. And she said, 'I can't tell you if your baby has anencephaly'.