Other Scans & Tests

Cervical Assessment

Most babies are born at term, which means between 37 and 42 weeks. Occasionally a mother will go into labour prematurely and much research has been done to try to predict who is risk of delivering early and ultimately to stop this happening. One way of identifying those at risk is to look at the cervix – the neck of the womb. The shorter the cervix, the higher the chance of premature labour.

It is not usual to look at the cervix routinely, but if a mother has had a previous preterm delivery, or has had treatment on her cervix in the past, it is worth having a cervical assessment scan.

Your own hospital will usually arrange this for you if you are at high risk, but it can also be arranged through Beard Mill Clinic. It is best done at about 23 – 24 weeks, but can be done at other gestations if there is a specific indication, so do ask if you are unsure.

Position / Presentation Scan

We prefer the baby to come out head first, but occasionally the baby has other ideas and tries to enter the world bottom first – in a breech position. The doctors and midwives looking after you can usually tell which way up the baby is by just feeling your abdomen, but sometimes it isn’t always that easy to tell, or you may just want to double check. You can do this by requesting a presentation scan at Beard Mill Clinic.

This isn’t normally done until after 36 weeks – before this the baby still has time to turn around on its own – but if it is breech at this point, you will need to be referred to the Breech Clinic at your local hospital and Victoria can arrange this for you.

Please note that this scan is only available to those who have had earlier scans at Beard Mill Clinic during their current pregnancy. If you are new to the Clinic or this is a new pregnancy, please book as a late wellbeing scan instead to make ensure there is sufficient time for a thorough consultation.

Endometrial Thickness Scan

There is a growing number of women who seek fertility treatment abroad. Often patients will be prescribed a treatment to thicken the lining of the womb (the endometrium) prior to them going to the fertility clinic for embryo transfer.

It may be necessary to do a scan to check the thickness of the lining to make sure that the treatment has worked before you go and Beard Mill Clinic is able to offer this service.

Your fertility clinic will usually advise you when you need to have this scan, so please discuss this with them directly, but Victoria is able to do the scan and pass on the results to the clinic to finalise the timing of your treatment.

hCG levels

A normal “home” pregnancy test works by identifying the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) present in a urine sample. This hormone is produced very early on in the pregnancy and can be picked up in urine from about one week after conception. Some of the new “digital” pregnancy tests work by quantifying how much hormone is present and using this to estimate how far pregnant you are. But a much more accurate way of doing this is to measure the hormone levels in your blood.

This is particularly helpful for patients who have had IVF treatment and want to find out at the earliest opportunity whether the treatment has worked, and for those who have had an inconclusive early scan and it isn’t entirely clear if they have a very early pregnancy (too early to see on scan yet), a failing pregnancy or an ectopic pregnancy.

Typically the hCG levels double every 48 hours in early pregnancy, so sometimes a single test doesn’t give enough information and it has to be repeated two-days later to give a better indication.

This blood test can be done at Beard Mill Clinic and Victoria will contact you with the results the following working day and she will arrange any necessary follow-up for you.


Toxoplasmosis is a germ commonly found in raw meat, and in sheep, lamb and cat faeces. It can sometimes cause serious harm to an unborn baby.

Universal screening is offered in some European countries where the incidence of toxoplasmosis infection is high, but in the UK it is less common and universal screening is not recommended. But if you know that you may be at high risk because of your lifestyle, it can make you very anxious.

However if you have already had the infection before becoming pregnant, you will already have antibodies to protect you from getting it again and be “immune”. Sometimes it really helps to know this so you don’t need to be quite so cautious. If you haven’t then it is important to be very careful and take the precautions listed.

A simple blood test will usually clarify if you have had the infection before and Victoria can arrange this for you and explain the results.

To avoid it:

  • Wash your hands after handling raw meat
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked (rare) meat
  • Wash salads and vegetables as any dirt may have been contaminated by cat faeces
  • Get someone else to clean out any cat litter trays while you are pregnant
  • Always wear gloves when gardening
  • Avoid sheep, especially during the lambing season


Parvovirus causes a common illness known as “slap cheek syndrome” or fifth disease. Children typically present with bright red cheeks, rash and a temperature, but adults may be asymptomatic. If you get slapped cheek syndrome during your pregnancy, particularly during the first 20 weeks, the baby may not be affected at all, but there is an increased risk of miscarriage and a small chance that the baby will develop anaemia. This is treatable, but needs to be recognised early.

However if you have had parvovirus infection before you get pregnant – and it is estimated that up to 60% of adults have – then you are immune to the condition and cannot get it again during your pregnancy. Knowing this means that you don’t have to be too concerned if you are around children a lot or in close contact with relatives that you know have the illness.

A simple blood test will tell you whether or not you are immune and Victoria can arrange this for you and explain the results.

“ Enormous thanks, you have again guided us and prepared us for what was a nervous but wonderful journey ”

Emily, Oxford