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Fetal medicine unit information for patients



  • St Thomas' Hospital
    8th floor, North Wing
    Westminster Bridge Road
    London SE1 7EH

    Tel: 020 7188 8003

  • North Wing

This page explains what to expect at your appointment in the fetal medicine unit. You may be given an appointment in this unit if you have previously had a pregnancy with fetal abnormalities or issues with your current pregnancy.

Before your appointment

Please only come with one family member or friend and avoid bringing young children with you if possible. 

  • 1st trimester scan: please come with a full bladder, but not so full that you are uncomfortable
  • 2nd trimester: you do not need to come with a full bladder.

At your appointment

During the scan:

  1. We will ask you to lie on your back in the scan room with your tummy uncovered.
  2. We will dim the lights in the room to give us a clear view of the screen.
  3. Gel will be spread on your tummy so that a hand-held probe can be easily passed backwards and forwards over it. The probe sends sound waves through your tummy. The sound waves bounce back off the baby and are translated into an image on the screen.

Scanning risks

Please note that the scan:

  • does not detect all fetal abnormalities
  • is considered to be a safe scan for both you and your baby. 

After your scan

The scan report with the results will be explained and given to you.