How do I find out if my baby is healthy?
In the earlier stages of your pregnancy, when your baby is experiencing rapid growth and cellular development, they are at heightened risk of external threats to their health. Throughout your pregnancy, obstetricians recommend routine tests and examinations to evaluate the health of your baby.
Non-invasive prenatal test – NIPT
This test can be done as early as 10 weeks gestation. A blood sample is collected from the mother and new technology is able to identify baby’s chromosomes in maternal blood and test them for abnormalities including Down’s Syndrome. The test is highly accurate, however it still needs to be considered a screening and not a diagnostic test. This test can also be used to find out the gender of your unborn baby.
Nuchal Translucency – NT Scan
This is an ultrasound-based examination usually conducted between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. It measures the thickness of fluid-filled tissue at the back of baby’s neck and results are combined with a blood test that measures placental hormones. A combination of these two measurements gives us a probability of your baby having a chromosomal abnormality such as Down’s Syndrome.
Various tests can be conducted via ultrasound to detect chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome, as well as physical abnormalities including cleft palate, spina bifida and issues affecting internal and external organs.
Specialist ultrasound practices provide expert service and are able to detect even very minor defects. Some birth defects, usually those involving baby’s heart can be hard to identify.
Ultrasound in later trimesters
Sometimes ultrasounds are conducted later in the second and third trimesters. An ultrasound conducted at 18 to 20 weeks is known as a “Morphology Scan.” It examines the baby for presence of internal and external organ defects such as spina bifida or cleft palate.
Later ultrasounds may also be required for very specific indications. For example, if Mum develops gestational diabetes or high blood pressure, we will need to make sure that the placenta is working well and that baby’s growth and development is satisfactory.
Helping us plan for delivery
We recognise that our patients come from a variety of areas around Brisbane and understand it can be challenging for them to travel for these specialist examinations. We also understand that having a baby is associated with significant expenses, so any additional costs needs to be considered.
However by gaining as much knowledge as possible about your baby prior to the delivery allows us to plan your birth, involve other specialists if needed, and be prepared to deliver your baby at a larger hospital if necessary to ensure immediate access to high level neonatal care facilities.
Do you need more information?
Dr Kretowicz consults at two locations in Brisbane: the Alexandra Building on Wickham Terrace and at the Ramsay Consulting Suites at North West Private Hospital.
Caring for women’s health and supporting couples on the journey through pregnancy and childbirth.