What happens when I come in?

If you're offered an appointment for a scan here at the fetal medicine unit, the information here will help you prepare for your visit.

Before your scan 

We will take a detailed history, then take you to the scan room. You may be scanned by more than one person. Depending on the reason for your referral, we may also have a specialist doctor from cardiology, surgery or neurology attending your scan.

As we are a teaching unit involved in the training of midwives, doctors and medical students, they may also be working with us and observing the scan. We aim to limit the number of observers to a maximum of two, please let us know if you would prefer not to have any present.

During the scan

The scan will concentrate on the area that is causing concern, but we will also look carefully at the entire baby. The consultation and scan usually take around 30 minutes, but may take longer depending on the position of the baby, the view, and the problem being investigated. A fetal medicine consultant or specialist performs the scan, and will take video and images of your baby in the womb. 

After the scan

After your scan, the doctor and one of our fetal medicine midwives will take you to a room to fully explain the scan findings. They will also discuss any further investigations that you may need, and options for further management of your pregnancy. There will plenty of opportunity at this point for you to ask questions, and it may help to write them down before you come to your appointment. You may feel that you need to return home to absorb all the information you have been given before you can make any decisions. We normally arrange for you to come back and see us again when you have had time to consider all the information.

When you leave the department we will give you a written report summarising our findings and what we have said to you, as parents often find it hard to remember all they have been told. You will also have our telephone numbers so that you can contact us should you have further questions. Our role is to support you both during and after your visit to the unit, and to give you as much information as you require. We will usually contact your GP and community midwife, so that they are able to offer support at home as well.