What happens at your visit?

Ultrasound appointment

If you are offered an appointment for a scan here at the fetal medicine unit, the following information will help you to prepare for the visit.

Before the scan 

We will take a detailed history taken by one of the fetal medicine team. You will then be taken into the scan room and may be scanned by more than one person. The Fetal Medicine unit is also a teaching unit, and may have a closely supervised trainee scanning with the consultant. Depending on the reason for your referral, we may also have a specialist doctor from cardiology, surgery or neurology attending the scan.

During the scan

The scan performed will be a detailed look at all of your baby and not just the problem you have been referred for. It usually takes approximately 30 minutes for the consultation and the scan, but may take longer depending on the position of the baby, views obtained and the problem that is being investigated. A fetal medicine consultant or specialist performs the scan. He or she will take video and picture images of your baby in the womb. The scan will concentrate on the area that is causing concern but will also look carefully at the entire baby.

Some women with difficult pregnancies are advised to give birth at the Princess Anne Hospital rather than in a district hospital, as there are regional specialties in Southampton

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.

After the scan

After your scan the doctor and one of the fetal medicine midwives will accompany you to one of our consulting to rooms, to fully explain the scan findings aided by diagrams and information sheets. They will also discuss any further investigations that may be indicated along with options for further management of your pregnancy. There will plenty of opportunity at this point for you to ask questions, it maybe helpful to write some of them down before you come to the 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 General Practitioner (GP) and community midwife, so that they are able to offer support at home as well.