Scans and tests during your pregnancy 2
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
In your diary… from 11 weeks
During CVS, a doctor will pass a fine needle through your abdomen and into the womb, or into the vagina and through the cervix, to sample a tiny bit of the placental tissue. Either of these procedures can feel uncomfy but they shouldn’t be painful: the midwife or doctor will advise you to take things easy for a couple of days after you have the test. The results can take anything from 48 hours to three weeks. In two per cent of cases there are no clear results, so the procedure will need to be repeated.
In your diary… from 15 weeks
Also testing for Down’s and other conditions, this is where the doctor passes a fine needle through your abdomen and into the womb. It withdraws some amniotic fluid from around the baby, which contains cells that can be tested. The results can take anything from 48 hours to three weeks. In one per cent of cases there’s no result as the cells don’t grow, so a second amniocentesis will be needed.
In your diary… from 20 weeks
This is also known as an anomaly scan, as its main purpose is to look for any abnormalities with your baby. He’ll be checked from head to toe, and his spine will be checked for neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Remember, though, that not every abnormality can be picked up on a scan, and occasionally things can be missed.
Sometimes it can be difficult to check your baby properly as he might be lying in a position that hides the essential bits, in which case you’ll be told to go for a walk and return later, to give him a chance to move.
The position of your placenta will be recorded and if it’s low, you’ll be asked to come back for another scan near the end of your pregnancy to check that it’s moved up into the ideal place ready for the birth.
If you want to know the sex of your baby, you can find that out at this scan, too.
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