Most pregnant women have at least one ultrasound scan to capture pictures of their unborn baby and check for abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome, spina bifida and heart defects. A variety of additional private pregnancy scans and investigations can be paid for privately, if they are not offered under your NHS care. Here is a list of some of the pregnancy scans and investigations which are available to those who wish to opt for private pregnancy scans and investigations with private companies or private hospitals.
More about pregnancy scans and investigations
Amniocentesis is usually done between weeks 15 and 18. It is normally carried out for women who are at high risk –older women, women who have had a child with a birth defect, women with diabetes.
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a very accurate antenatal test that detects abnormalities such as Down's syndrome. It is usually performed earlier, between the 10th and 12th weeks of pregnancy, than amniocentesis, and has become a popular alternative. You may choose to have it done privately, rather than wait for an amniocentesis.
Nuchal translucency scans ("nuchal fold scans", or the "nuchal scan") are a relatively new technique, and are available privately. Research has shown that the thickness of the “nuchal fold” at the back of the neck is an indicator for Down’s Syndrome. The nuchal fold scan is carried out between 11 and 13 weeks.
A small number of private centres offer the OSCAR (One Stop Clinic for the Assessment of Risk) which also assesses the risk of Down’s Syndrome. The screen combines a nuchal translucency scan and a blood analysis for the level of Pregnancy Associated Plasma Protein-A (PAPP-A), and free beta-human Chorionic Gonadotropin (free beta-hCG). It is performed at 11-13 weeks.