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Women’s Health Awareness Month

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Maternal Mental Health Awareness

Discover the importance of Maternal Mental Health in 2024.

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May is Women’s Health Month, a time to prioritise and celebrate women’s health, beginning with National Women’s Health Week. This blog post highlights the importance of women’s health, with a particular focus on pregnancy, fertility, and gynaecology. We’ll discuss key health concerns, preventive measures, and the importance of regular checkups to ensure women’s well-being during different stages of life.

During the month of May, as flowers bloom and the weather warms up, we celebrate Mother’s Day and recognize Women’s Health Month. As we come to the end of this month-long observance, which kicked off each year on Mother’s Day, emphasises the importance of health and well-being for women across the nation. At the LPC, we focus on providing comprehensive care in pregnancy, fertility, and gynaecology, ensuring women have access to the information and medical support they need.

Urgent Support

If you find yourself in crisis, feeling despair, or experiencing suicidal thoughts, it’s crucial to seek help immediately. Reach out to a healthcare professional—this could be your GP, midwife, or health visitor.

Alternatively, you can take the following steps:

Remember, you are not alone. Mental health issues during and after pregnancy are common, and support is readily available.

What is Women’s Health Awareness?

Women’s Health Awareness is a dedicated effort to educate and empower women about their health and well-being. It focuses on highlighting the unique health challenges women face and provides essential information on prevention, early detection, and treatment. This awareness is vital in promoting healthier lifestyles and improving health outcomes for women of all ages.

According to the UK’s First Women’s Health Strategy for England, addressing the gender health gap is crucial. Women live longer than men on average but spend more of their lives in poor health, often limiting their ability to work and participate in day-to-day activities. Closing this health gap and supporting women to live well will benefit not only their health and wellbeing but also the economy.

Women’s Health Awareness encourages women to take control of their health by staying informed about various health issues. It emphasises the importance of regular health screenings, vaccinations, and checkups. These preventive measures are crucial for detecting potential health problems early, ensuring timely treatment, and improving prognosis.

Responses to the call for evidence highlighted a need for greater focus on women-specific health conditions, including fertility and pregnancy loss, and gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis, which affects 1 in 10 women.

Lifestyle factors play a significant role in women’s health. Women’s Health Awareness promotes healthy habits, including balanced nutrition, regular physical activity, and avoiding harmful behaviours like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is fundamental to preventing many health issues.

The Importance of Women’s Health Awareness Month?

Women’s Health Month serves as a vital reminder for women to prioritise their health. Taking care of your health is essential, and this month encourages you to focus on your well-being. Start by scheduling necessary medical appointments. Regular checkups, examinations, and vaccinations play a crucial role in maintaining good health. Preventive care helps detect potential issues early, ensuring timely treatment.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is another key aspect of Women’s Health Month. Incorporate balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep into your daily routine. A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains supports overall well-being. Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily.

Mental health is equally important. Take time to manage stress, practice mindfulness, and seek support when needed. Engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation can significantly improve mental well-being. Remember, mental health impacts physical health, so it’s essential to address any concerns promptly.

Women’s Health Month also highlights the importance of understanding your body and recognising potential health risks. Stay informed about common health issues affecting women, such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Knowing the symptoms and risk factors enables you to take preventive measures and seek medical advice early.

Given that around 15% of women over 18 report being in poor health, raising awareness is crucial. This month encourages women to take proactive steps towards better health. Share information with friends and family, and support each other in making healthier choices. Together, we can create a community of empowered, health-conscious women.

Key Health Concerns for Women:

One key aspect of Women’s Health Awareness is education about reproductive health. This includes information on menstrual health, contraception, pregnancy, and menopause. Understanding these aspects of health enables women to make informed decisions about their bodies and well-being.

While these issues are connected to reproductive health, they are not solely about pregnancy. Addressing these health concerns is vital for maintaining a high quality of life and ensuring overall health. Here are some of the key health concerns that women should be aware of:

  • Breast Cancer: is the second most common cancer among women in the UK. Early detection through regular breast examinations and mammograms is crucial. Women should be aware of the symptoms, such as lumps, changes in breast shape, and skin dimpling, and consult their healthcare provider if they notice any unusual changes.
  • Cervical Cancer: affects thousands of women annually, often linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV). Regular Pap smears and HPV vaccinations are effective preventive measures. Recognising symptoms like unusual bleeding and pelvic pain can lead to early diagnosis and better outcomes.
  • Ovarian Cancer: is another significant health concern, with risk factors including age and family history. Regular pelvic examinations and being alert to symptoms like bloating, pelvic pain, and changes in urinary habits can aid in early detection.
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health: Maintaining sexual and reproductive health is essential for overall well-being. Safe sex practices, STI screenings, and regular checkups help prevent and manage health issues. For those considering pregnancy, preconception health and prenatal care are vital for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
  • Physical Activity: Regular physical activity is essential for preventing conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and osteoporosis. Women should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, which can include activities like brisk walking, cycling, or yoga.
  • Diet and Nutrition: A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins supports overall health. Nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D are particularly important for bone health, helping to prevent osteoporosis.
  • Osteoporosis: a condition characterised by weakened bones, is more common in women, especially post-menopause. Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake, along with regular weight-bearing exercises, can help maintain bone density and prevent fractures.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: is the leading cause of death among women. Risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking. Regular cardiovascular checkups, a healthy diet, and an active lifestyle are key preventive measures.

Women’s Health Awareness: Preventive Care.

Preventive care, including vaccinations, screenings, and routine checkups, is essential for early detection and management of health issues. Women should adhere to recommended schedules for mammograms, Pap smears, and bone density tests. These regular checkups can detect potential health issues before they become serious, ensuring timely treatment and better outcomes.

Mammograms are vital for early detection of breast cancer. Women should begin regular mammograms at age 40, or earlier if they have a family history of breast cancer. Detecting breast cancer early increases the chances of successful treatment and can save lives.

Pap smears are crucial for detecting cervical cancer. Women should start getting Pap smears at age 25 and continue every three years. If you have a higher risk, your doctor may recommend more frequent screenings. HPV vaccinations also play a key role in preventing cervical cancer.

Routine checkups are also an opportunity to discuss other vaccinations, such as flu shots and the COVID-19 vaccine, which help protect against infectious diseases. Keeping vaccinations up to date is crucial for overall health and preventing outbreaks.

Preventive care extends beyond these screenings. Regular blood pressure checks, cholesterol tests, and diabetes screenings are essential for detecting cardiovascular and metabolic conditions early. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise, complements preventive care and boosts overall health. By prioritising preventive care, women can take proactive steps to maintain their health and well-being. Early detection through regular screenings and checkups allows for timely intervention, improving health outcomes and quality of life

Mental Health During Reproductive care.

Mental health care should be an integral part of reproductive care. Women should feel empowered to seek help and support throughout their reproductive journey. By prioritising mental health, women can ensure better outcomes for themselves and their families.

Gynaecological health plays a significant role in mental well-being. Regular gynae checkups, screenings, and open communication with healthcare providers are essential. Addressing gynaecological issues promptly can prevent them from affecting mental health. Conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis can have both physical and emotional impacts.

During preconception, mental health is just as important as physical health. According to a study published in NLM, 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant. This can impact the mental health concerns of women planning to conceive. Stress, anxiety, or unresolved mental health issues can affect fertility and overall well-being. Consulting a healthcare provider for mental health support during this phase is crucial. Therapy, stress management techniques, and a strong support system can help in preparing for a healthy pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a profound life event that sparks various emotional responses, which affect Maternal Mental Health. Although often joyous, it can also trigger mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Hormonal changes, past mental health issues, and the stress of impending parenthood all contribute. Recognising symptoms early and seeking support through therapy, support groups, or medical intervention can improve outcomes for both mother and baby.

The postpartum period is a critical time for mental health. Issues such as postpartum depression (PPD) which 1 in 5 women struggle with, anxiety, and psychosis can severely impact a mother’s ability to bond with her child and function daily. Stigma and a lack of awareness often prevent mothers from seeking necessary help. Informing new mothers and their families about the symptoms and available treatments is essential. 

Final Thoughts

Women’s Health Awareness Month is a perfect time to prioritise health, educate yourself on potential risks, and take preventive measures. At LPC, we offer comprehensive services, from fertility consultations to prenatal and gynaecological care, tailored to support your health journey. Schedule your preventive care appointments today and take proactive steps toward a healthier, happier life.

Prioritise your health this Women’s Health Month. Take charge of your well-being and embrace a healthier, happier lifestyle. For more information on maintaining good health during pregnancy, visit the NHS’s Keeping Well during Pregnancy page. If you think a referral might help, please speak to your midwife, Women’s Health specialists, GP or health visitor.

  • “We are here today to celebrate Women’s Health Awareness Month. We all know how important it is to make sure that we as women are taken care of through our whole life this can be during before or after pregnancy as well especially when we need a bit of more attention.”

    – Ms Shaz Khojasteh

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Blood Tests During Pregnancy

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Blood Tests During Pregnancy:

Ensuring the Health of You and Your Baby.

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At London Pregnancy Clinic, we understand the importance of precise blood tests for monitoring health and diagnosing conditions during pregnancy. Explore the essential tests that help ensure the well-being of both mother and child.

While blood tests during pregnancy aren’t essential, they can significantly enhance your preparedness. Your healthcare provider may recommend a tailored series to monitor your health and your baby’s growth. These tests are invaluable for early detection of potential health issues, enabling prompt and effective interventions. At London Pregnancy we offer a wide variety of tests, which in this blog, we will dive into.

Why Consider Blood Tests During Pregnancy?

Blood tests during pregnancy offer invaluable insights into both maternal and fetal health, enabling better preparedness and care. Here are several compelling reasons to consider these tests:

Monitor Maternal Health: Blood tests, such as the complete blood count (CBC) and liver function tests, assess the mother’s overall health. They check for conditions like anaemia, infections, and gestational diabetes that may require close monitoring or specific treatments.

Assess Fetal Health and Development: Genetic screening tests can detect chromosomal conditions such as Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, and Patau syndrome. These tests, often paired with ultrasounds, help evaluate the risk of certain genetic disorders, guiding further prenatal care. We offer Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) from 10 weeks of pregnancy and can help you choose the right NIPT for you!

Identify Rh Incompatibility: Determining the mother’s blood type and Rh factor is crucial. Rh incompatibility can lead to serious complications, necessitating special treatment to safeguard the baby’s health. At LPC we currently don’t offer Rh factor blood test (at the time of writing April 2024). However, during your NHS antenatal checks you will be able to get it. Read more on Rhesus Disease RhD on the NHS website.

Screening for Infectious Diseases: Screening for infectious diseases like hepatitis B, HIV, and syphilis is critical. Identifying these infections early allows for steps to be taken to prevent transmission to the baby, ensuring a safer delivery.

Provide Baseline Information: The results from initial blood tests create a baseline that helps monitor the pregnancy’s progression. Any significant changes can be quickly identified, allowing for timely interventions.

Overall, considering blood tests during pregnancy is vital for early detection of potential issues. These tests enable timely and effective interventions, ensuring the health and wellbeing of both mother and baby.

Why Consider Blood Tests for Pregnancy Confirmation?

Pregnancy tests, including urine and blood tests, are designed to confirm if you are pregnant. Urine tests are widely used due to their convenience and availability over-the-counter. However, blood tests, particularly the Beta HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) test, provide more comprehensive insights.

The Beta HCG test detects the hormone produced by the placenta shortly after implantation, appearing in the blood about 11 days post-conception, which is slightly earlier than in urine. It is essential for confirming early pregnancy and is available in two types: the Qualitative HCG Test, which simply indicates pregnancy with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and the Quantitative HCG Test, which measures exact HCG levels in the blood for high accuracy.

Unlike urine tests, the Beta HCG test requires a blood sample taken in a healthcare setting and is more sensitive, offering early detection and additional information such as the approximate age of the fetus and potential complications. This makes blood tests a vital tool for early and accurate pregnancy confirmation.

What is the AMH Blood Test?

The AMH blood test measures the levels of AMH in a woman’s blood, a hormone produced by ovarian follicles. It serves as a reliable marker of ovarian reserve, indicating a woman’s potential fertility. This test is instrumental for clinicians and fertility specialists to predict a woman’s response to fertility treatments, like in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

AMH levels provide a reliable measure of a woman’s ovarian reserve, although they do not directly correlate with egg quality. Low AMH levels might suggest a diminished ovarian reserve, posing concerns for natural conception or IVF. Conversely, high AMH levels might indicate conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

AMH testing is crucial in assisted reproductive technology, aiding in the development of personalised IVF treatment strategies. Women with low AMH may respond less to ovarian stimulation, affecting egg retrieval numbers and IVF success rates. High AMH levels can increase the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), especially under strong fertility medication effects.

Preparing for Your Blood Test

Our blood tests at London Pregnancy Clinic are perfect for accurately confirming pregnancy, monitoring early viability, and following up post-IVF. We offer convenient same-day appointments that fit your schedule. To ensure accurate results, follow the specific instructions provided by your healthcare professional. These may include:

  • Fasting Requirements: You might need to avoid all food and drinks, except water, for up to 12 hours before certain tests.
  • Medication Guidelines: It may be necessary to pause specific medications temporarily. This will prevent any interference with your test results.

Adhering to these guidelines is crucial. Incorrect preparation can affect your results, possibly requiring a repeat of the test. Check-in with your care provider about what you should do! At London Pregnancy Clinic you can call our reception and our team will gladly help with any queries!

Please note, that these tests require a referral from an existing provider. We will send the results to both you and your nominated healthcare provider upon request. 

Get to Know Your Phlebotomist

Molly, one of our skilled phlebotomists, ensures that your blood tests are conducted smoothly, providing a comforting presence during the process.

Final Thoughts

The results from these tests provide a snapshot of your health and that of your baby, allowing your healthcare provider to tailor your prenatal care effectively. Remember, it’s crucial to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.

Our selection of blood tests is available exclusively to patients holding a referral from their healthcare provider, ensuring you receive the highest standard of care. We send samples to a partnered laboratory for precise analysis. If you need a referral or interpretation of blood test results, our friendly reception team is ready to help you book an appointment with the appropriate consultant. Please remember, if you’re coming for a pregnancy scan, our sonographer cannot refer you for a blood test. Referrals for blood tests are only possible through an appointment with our Consultant Obstetricians or Gynaecologists. At the LPC, we’re here to support you from the very first step.

Want to book a blood test with us? Visit our Blood Tests page or give us a call! If you already had your pregnancy confirmed, we recommend booking an early pregnancy scan to check for the baby’s development.

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What is a Fallopian Tube?

Illustration detailing the expert fertility assessment of fallopian tubes offered at London Pregnancy Clinic.

Fallopian Tubes: all you need to know

Discovering the importance of fallopian tubes for fertility.

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Explore the critical role of fallopian tubes, or uterine tubes, in pregnancy and fertility. This post delves into their anatomy, function, and common issues affecting fertility, providing essential insights for expectant mothers and those planning pregnancy.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the fallopian tubes, an essential component of the female reproductive system. We also explore common pathologies that affect these tubes, leading to infertility issues and complications like ectopic pregnancies. Our esteemed in-house gynae team, brings their extensive knowledge and expertise to this discussion, providing invaluable insights into the significance of maintaining fallopian tube health. Join us as we unfold the mysteries of the fallopian tubes and their vital function in the miracle of life.

What are Fallopian Tubes

In the female body, the pelvis houses two vital structures known as fallopian tubes. One on either side of the uterus. These tubes act as pathways, connecting the ovaries to the uterus. Each fallopian tube is made up of four distinct parts: the infundibulum, fimbriae, ampulla, and isthmus. The fimbriae are delicate, finger-like extensions that gently guide the egg from the ovary into the tube. 

The Role of Fallopian tubes in Pregnancy

Moreover, fallopian tubes are critical in the earliest stages of pregnancy, integral to the reproductive process, and serve a trio of critical functions. They are the conduits for egg transportation from the ovaries to the uterus and the venue where fertilisation typically occurs. Post-fertilisation, these tubes facilitate the journey of the fertilised egg to the uterus, setting the stage for implantation and the progression of pregnancy. The health and integrity of the fallopian tubes are paramount for successful conception as they are closely linked to fertility. Problems with these tubes are a common reason why some women may have difficulty getting pregnant.

Uterine Tube Pathologies & Infertility

According to a report, nearly one-third of infertility cases are attributed to issues with the fallopian tubes, including various pathologies like inflammation and obstructions. Damage to the tube’s cilia can hinder the movement of sperm or egg, contributing to infertility. Additionally, sexually transmitted infections are a known cause of these tubal issues. Let’s dive into the specific pathologies that can manifest.

Salpingitis

Salpingitis, an inflammation in the fallopian tubes, often forms part of wider pelvic inflammatory diseases (PIDs). Its hallmark is a thickened tube in the isthmus area, known as salpingitis isthmica nodosa. This condition can resemble endometriosis, potentially leading to fertility blockages or raising ectopic pregnancy risks.

During diagnosis, doctors first look for tenderness and swelling. They may conduct blood and urine tests to spot infection indicators. Swab tests from the vagina and cervix help identify specific bacterial infections. Ultrasound scans of the fallopian tubes and reproductive tract are common. A crucial test, the hysterosalpingogram, uses a special X-ray and dye through the cervix to detect tubal blockages.

Untreated, salpingitis can cause long-term fertility issues and increase ectopic pregnancy chances. Symptoms vary, including lower abdominal pain, nausea, and fever; sometimes, no symptoms appear initially. Antibiotics typically treat this condition, but severe cases might require surgery or IVF. Seeking medical advice early is vital to prevent serious outcomes. Early detection and treatment significantly aid in managing salpingitis effectively.

Fallopian Tube Blockage & Narrowing

Addressing fallopian tube obstructions can significantly boost pregnancy chances. These blockages may develop in various parts of the tube – proximal, distal, or mid-segmental. Testing the tubes’ full functionality presents challenges, yet assessing their patency (openness) is possible with hysterosalpingography, laparoscopy with dye, or hysterosalpingo contrast sonography (HyCoSy). During surgical evaluations, specialists examine the tubes and introduce a dye, such as methylene blue, into the uterus to test its passage through the tubes when the cervix is closed.

Research published in PubMed indicates a notable prevalence of tubal obstruction: 19.1% in primary infertility cases and 28.7% in secondary infertility scenarios. The study highlights cornual blockage’s predominance in primary infertility, whereas complete hydrosalpinx and peritubal adhesions appear less frequently. Due to the frequent link between tubal disease and Chlamydia infection, Chlamydia antibody screening is now a cost-effective approach for identifying possible tubal pathologies.

At London Pregnancy Clinic, we conduct the HyCoSy procedure. This test evaluates fallopian tube functionality by injecting a special dye and monitoring its flow. It also assesses the womb for abnormalities affecting pregnancy implantation. Additionally, we use dye and ultrasound scans to check for fallopian tube blockages or abnormalities. Discover more through the slider below, offering further insights into our advanced diagnostic techniques.

  • Graphic explaining the expert fertility assessment of fallopian tubes offered at London Pregnancy Clinic.

    Fallopian Tubes

  • Educational diagram of female reproductive anatomy focusing on the fallopian tubes provided by London Pregnancy Clinic.

    Fallopian tube diagram

  • Illustration detailing the phases of the menstrual cycle as part of fertility education by London Pregnancy Clinic.

    Menstrual Cycle

  • Infographic showing statistics on blocked fallopian tube prevalence in women, as part of London Pregnancy Clinic's fertility resources.

    Stats on blocked fallopian tube

  • Explanation of the HYCOSY scan procedure for checking fallopian tube blockage, offered by London Pregnancy Clinic.

    HyCoSy

  • Image of Mr. Prashant Purohit with text highlighting London Pregnancy Clinic's expertise in fertility and gynaecology ultrasound.

    Mr. Prashant Purohit specialist gynaecologist

Ectopic Pregnancy

Statistics and Locations of Ectopic Pregnancies: Ectopic pregnancies, which occur in about 1%-2% of all pregnancies, predominantly implant in the fallopian tubes, with over 98% of cases occurring there. Within the fallopian tubes, the distribution of ectopic pregnancies varies: approximately 75% happen in the ampullary segment, 13% in the isthmic segment, and around 12% in the fimbrial segment. These statistics highlight the critical nature of monitoring tubal health.

Fertilisation and its Relation to Ectopic Pregnancies: It’s important to note that fertilisation typically occurs in the ampulla, the same section of the fallopian tube where the majority of ectopic pregnancies are found. This correlation emphasises the need for awareness and early detection in cases of suspected ectopic pregnancy, as the ampulla is a common site for both normal fertilisation and ectopic implantation.

Understanding the statistics and locations of ectopic pregnancies in the fallopian tubes is crucial. It not only sheds light on the commonality and risks associated with these pregnancies but also underscores the importance of early ultrasound pregnancy scans for detection and intervention. The earlier you scan the quicker we can detect an ectopic pregnancy meaning that we can begin this from week 6 of pregnancy.

Pregnant with Just One Fallopian Tube?

Typically, women possess two fallopian tubes for transporting the mature egg from the ovary to the uterus, where it may encounter sperm. However, a single healthy tube can efficiently undertake this task. Remarkably, up to 85% of women aged 22-28 with only one tube successfully conceive within two years of trying, even following an ectopic pregnancy.

If you have a blocked tube due to scarring, trauma, or a previous ectopic pregnancy, your pregnancy prospects remain normal, considering other health factors. Loss of a fallopian tube might result from pelvic surgery due to infection, tumours, or a past ectopic pregnancy. In some instances, women are naturally born with just one tube. Still, pregnancy is achievable with one tube, provided you have a functioning ovary, you’re ovulating and the fallopian tube is in good health.

If you’re struggling to conceive or have a history of fallopian tube issues, it’s wise to consult your gynaecologist or a reproductive endocrinologist. They can offer a thorough evaluation to guide your next steps. Remember, one healthy fallopian tube can effectively support your journey to motherhood.

Conclusion

Mr. Prashant Purohit, our dedicated in-house gynaecologist at London Pregnancy Clinic, emphasises the need for awareness and timely medical consultation to address these concerns. His expertise in managing these conditions reflects our clinic’s commitment to providing comprehensive care and support to women facing fertility challenges. Understanding the complexities of the fallopian tubes is not just about medical knowledge; it’s about empowering women with the information they need to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. We encourage you, readers to stay vigilant about their gynaecological well-being and seek expert guidance when needed. Remember, early detection and treatment are key to overcoming obstacles on the path to motherhood.

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UCLH: A Beacon of Excellence in Obstetrics and Gynaecology

UCLH: A Beacon of Excellence in Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) stands as a paragon of excellence in the healthcare sector, particularly in obstetrics and gynaecology. With a legacy rooted in innovation and top-tier medical services, UCLH has garnered global recognition, ranking among the world’s best in its field. Beyond its renowned maternity services and the esteemed Fetal Medicine Unit (FMU), UCLH’s partnership with the London Pregnancy Clinic showcases a team of distinguished professionals dedicated to women’s health. Together, they underscore UCLH’s unwavering commitment to providing unparalleled care for women at every life stage.

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) has long been recognized as a leading institution in the realm of healthcare. With a rich history and a commitment to innovation and excellence, UCLH has consistently delivered top-tier medical services to its patients. One area where UCLH has particularly excelled is in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology.

Global Recognition

According to the Newsweek’s World’s Best Specialized Hospitals 2024 rankings, UCLH is among the top hospitals globally for obstetrics and gynaecology. This recognition is a testament to the hospital’s dedication to providing the best care for women at every stage of their lives.

Gynaecology at UCLH

The gynaecology service at UCLH offers a comprehensive range of treatments and services. From general gynaecological care to specialized treatments for conditions like endometriosis and fibroids, the department is equipped to handle a wide array of women’s health issues. The team also provides support for early pregnancy and acute gynaecological problems.

Maternity Services

UCLH’s maternity services are designed to support women throughout their pregnancy journey. The hospital offers everything from antenatal classes to postnatal support, ensuring that mothers and their babies receive the best care possible.

A standout feature of UCLH’s maternity services is the Fetal Medicine Unit (FMU). Led by a team of highly skilled specialists, the FMU offers diagnosis and treatment for complications that may arise in unborn babies. Recognized both nationally and internationally, the FMU sees over 7,000 patients each year, providing care in a supportive and professional environment.

A Rich History and a Bright Future

The University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has a storied history that dates back to the 18th century. Over the years, the trust has grown and evolved, incorporating various hospitals and expanding its range of services. Today, UCLH is not just a hospital but a conglomerate of medical institutions dedicated to research, teaching, and patient care.

In partnership with University College London, UCLH has major research activities, further cementing its reputation as a leading institution in the medical field. Each year, its hospitals treat over 500,000 outpatients and admit over 100,000 patients, showcasing the trust’s vast reach and impact.

The London Pregnancy Clinic Connection

At London Pregnancy Clinic, we are proud that many of our practitioners and support staff are either currently practicing at UCLH or have been trained there:

Dr. Fred Ushakov

Dr. Fred Ushakov is the Founder and Medical Director of the London Pregnancy Clinic. With over 35 years of medical experience, he specializes in fetal medicine and ultrasound. Notably, he is recognized as one of the most skilled ultrasound operators at the UCLH Fetal Medicine Unit. Dr. Ushakov’s contributions extend beyond clinical practice; he founded the London School of Ultrasound and the Early Fetal Scan Conference. His dedication to the field is evident in his role as an Ambassador of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG) from 2014-2020.

Ms Shahrzad (Shaz) Khojasteh

Ms Shaz Khojasteh is a Specialist Sonographer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She completed her Master’s degree in Prenatal Genetics and Fetal Medicine at UCL in 2016 and underwent specialized training in Fetal Medicine Ultrasound at Kings College Hospital. Shaz has also received training in Fetal Echocardiography and has gained valuable experience in Early Pregnancy and Gynaecological ultrasound scanning.

Dr. Giovanni Granozio

Dr. Giovanni Granozio is a clinical fellow in fetal medicine at the Royal London Hospital and consults privately at the London Pregnancy Clinic. He specializes in pregnancy screening scans, particularly for pregnancies with fetal anomalies, growth-restricted babies, and twin pregnancies. Dr. Granozio graduated from the University of Salerno and later specialized in Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the University of Turin. He relocated to London in 2020 to further his training in Fetal Medicine and Obstetric Ultrasound at UCLH.

Dr. Daniel Stott

Mt Stott is a distinguished consultant in obstetrics, practicing at The Portland Hospital and University College Hospital London (UCLH). He has notably established a successful antenatal clinic for women with hypertension at UCLH and serves as the Trust’s clinical lead for foetal monitoring. Dr. Stott’s expertise lies in maternal and fetal medicine, with a particular focus on obstetric ultrasound scanning, prenatal diagnosis, and maternal medicine. He has a keen interest in pregnancies complicated by hypertension and in fetal medicine. His academic pursuits are evident in his role as an honorary lecturer at UCL and his extensive research publications in obstetric and gynaecology journals.

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The History of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology

The History of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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The world of medical imaging has seen transformative technologies over the years, and ultrasound stands tall as one of the most pioneering. This non-invasive imaging tool has become an indispensable asset in fetal medicine and gynaecology. Let’s delve deep into the history of ultrasound, understanding its workings and establishing its safety credentials.

The Dawn of Ultrasound in Medicine

The journey of ultrasound began in the early 20th century. Initially, it was utilised for industrial and marine purposes, primarily to detect submarines. It wasn’t until the 1950s that scientists began to recognise its potential in medical diagnostics. The foundational use in obstetrics was to detect and measure foetal size, growth and position, making it a pivotal tool for doctors.

Ultrasound’s Ascent in Fetal Medicine

The 1970s and 1980s were transformative decades for ultrasound. As technology advanced, the clarity and details of the ultrasound images improved exponentially. This led to its expanded role in foetal medicine. Doctors could now not only measure the size and position of the foetus but also identify structural abnormalities, understand foetal behaviour, and estimate gestational age with enhanced precision.

Screening for Down’s syndrome, congenital heart diseases, and neural tube defects became possible, marking ultrasound’s vital role in antenatal care. The ability to visualise the foetus in the womb has not only improved clinical outcomes but also allowed parents to establish an early bond with their unborn child.

Ultrasound’s Role in Gynaecology

Ultrasound in gynaecology has been revolutionary. From visualising ovarian cysts to diagnosing endometriosis, it offers a pain-free, non-invasive solution for women. The introduction of transvaginal ultrasound probes in the 1980s provided clearer, more detailed images of the uterus and ovaries, enhancing diagnostic precision.

How Does Ultrasound Work?

In layman’s terms, ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures inside the body. A device called a transducer is placed on the body, and it emits sound waves. When these waves hit a boundary between tissues, like between fluid and soft tissue, they bounce back. The returning echoes are translated by a computer into images displayed on a screen.

Is Ultrasound Safe for Humans?

One of the paramount reasons for ultrasound’s popularity is its safety. Unlike X-rays, ultrasound doesn’t use radiation. Over decades of use, there’s been no concrete evidence linking ultrasound to any harmful side effects, making it a preferred choice for examining pregnant women and their unborn babies.

However, like any medical procedure, it should be used judiciously and only when medically necessary. It’s comforting for patients to know that they’re in safe hands when undergoing an ultrasound.

In Conclusion
From its marine roots to the pinnacle of medical diagnostics, ultrasound has traversed a fascinating journey. Today, it stands as an emblem of innovation in fetal medicine and gynaecology, providing invaluable insights while ensuring patient safety. As technology continues to evolve, the horizon for ultrasound promises even more groundbreaking discoveries.

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A Journey Through the First 10 Weeks of Pregnancy: Week-by-Week Guide & Ultrasound Scans

The first 10 weeks of pregnancy are truly transformative. As the foetus develops rapidly during this period, the significance of each week becomes ever more pronounced. If you’re an expectant mother or just curious about this marvellous journey of life, join us as we navigate through the initial 10 weeks, emphasising the value of ultrasound pregnancy scans.

Week 1 & 2: Although these weeks precede conception, they mark the beginning of the pregnancy timeline, starting from the first day of your last menstrual cycle.

Ultrasound Scan: Generally, no scans take place during these weeks. However, it’s an opportune moment to see your GP and plan your pregnancy journey. Consider Beta HCG pregnancy test.

Week 3: The magic begins! The sperm meets the egg, resulting in a zygote, which embarks on its journey through the fallopian tube.

Ultrasound Scan: It’s early days, and while an ultrasound won’t show much, an at-home test could provide the first inklings of pregnancy.

Week 4: As the zygote morphs into a blastocyst and finds its home in the uterus, the baby’s development begins in earnest.

Size: Not larger than a poppy seed.

Ultrasound Scan: Some women may opt for an early transvaginal scan which might show the start of a gestational sac.

Week 5: Layer separation occurs in the embryo, signalling the beginning of the baby’s organ development. The neural tube, the precursor to the spine and brain, begins to form.

Size: Tiny, approximately the size of a sesame seed.

Growth Factor: Grown about 2 times from the previous week.

Ultrasound Scan: A transvaginal scan can now possibly show the gestational sac. If you’re exhibiting symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, consider a scan (pain low down and on one side of your abdomen, bleeding from your vagina, pain in the tip of your shoulder, discomfort when going to the toilet, a brown watery discharge from your vagina.)

Week 6: With the formation of limb buds and a heart that’s started beating, this week is crucial.

Size: As large as a lentil.

Growth Factor: Grown about 3 times from the previous week.

Ultrasound Scan: A heartwarming moment for many, as the baby’s heartbeat may be visible! Consider our Viability Scan.

Week 7: Brain development accelerates and facial features start shaping up.

Size: About the size of a blueberry.

Growth Factor: Grown about 2 times from the previous week.

Ultrasound Scan: The scan reveals an increasingly defined shape, including a clearer heartbeat. Book our Viability scan from this point to 9 weeks.

Week 8: The foetus now has tiny fingers and toes, and the skeletal structure begins to form.

Size: Almost as big as a raspberry.

Growth Factor: Grown by 1.5 times from the previous week.

Ultrasound Scan: Budding limbs are now visible, making this scan a particularly exciting one.

Week 9: Most of the baby’s critical body parts are now in place and will keep maturing.

Size: Comparable to a cherry.

Growth Factor: Grown about 1.3 times from the previous week.

Ultrasound Scan: The baby’s shape and movements become more evident, although they can’t be felt just yet.

Week 10: Muscular and skeletal structures continue to solidify, and the tiny nails begin to emerge.

Size: Almost the size of a strawberry.

Growth Factor: Grown by 1.2 times from the previous week.

Ultrasound Scan: Now, you can witness finer details of your baby’s development, from the nails to its more discernible body shape. Book our 10 week scan, and consider NIPT.

To sum up: From a microscopic beginning to the size of a strawberry, the journey of the first 10 weeks of pregnancy is nothing short of miraculous. Ultrasound scans become a window to this evolving world, illustrating the baby’s swift progress. As the journey continues, prioritising health and staying informed during these foundational weeks is of paramount importance. The adventure has only just commenced!

A Comprehensive Guide to AMH Blood Test: Its Significance and Connection to IVF

Ever wondered how a simple blood test could offer a glimpse into your fertility? In this blog post, we’ll delve into one of the most crucial hormones affecting fertility—the Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH). If you’ve heard of this hormone and wondered what role it plays in fertility or IVF treatments, you’re in the right place.

What is the AMH Blood Test?

An AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) blood test measures the levels of AMH in a woman’s blood. Produced by the cells of the ovarian follicles, AMH serves as a reliable marker of ovarian reserve, effectively indicating a woman’s fertility potential. This test aids clinicians and fertility specialists in predicting a woman’s response to fertility treatments, particularly in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

What is the Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)?

The Anti-Mullerian Hormone, first discovered by Alfred Jost in the 1940s, plays a crucial role in the sexual development of foetuses. AMH was initially known for its role in male sexual development, but subsequent research has unearthed its pivotal part in female fertility. In women, the hormone is released by the antral follicles, the small sacs in the ovaries that hold the eggs.

Why is the AMH Blood Test Important?

As AMH levels correspond to the number of remaining eggs in the ovaries, the AMH blood test offers a reliable gauge of a woman’s ovarian reserve. However, it’s essential to understand that AMH levels do not directly correlate with the quality of eggs.

Low AMH levels might indicate a diminished ovarian reserve, which could be a concern for women attempting to conceive naturally or through IVF. In contrast, higher AMH levels may suggest conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

When is an AMH Blood Test Required?

The AMH test may be recommended in several circumstances:

  1. Evaluating Ovarian Reserve: AMH levels help assess the number of eggs remaining in the ovaries. The test may be suggested for women approaching their mid-30s, those with a family history of early menopause, or those who’ve previously undergone chemotherapy or pelvic surgery.
  2. Diagnosing PCOS: Elevated AMH levels may be indicative of PCOS, a common condition affecting a woman’s ovaries and ovulation.
  3. Determining IVF Success: Before starting IVF treatment, clinicians may order an AMH test to better predict how the ovaries will respond to the fertility drugs used to stimulate egg production.

Connection between AMH Levels and IVF

The AMH blood test holds significant value in the field of assisted reproductive technology, especially IVF. It helps clinicians devise personalised treatment strategies for their patients.

For women with low AMH levels, special considerations may be needed during the stimulation phase of IVF. These women often respond less to ovarian stimulation, leading to a smaller number of eggs retrieved, which can affect the success rate of IVF. Conversely, women with high AMH levels might be at risk for Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), a condition that can occur when the ovaries are overly stimulated by fertility drugs.

When is the Best Time to Have an AMH Blood Test?

An AMH blood test can be performed at any time during a woman’s menstrual cycle, as AMH levels remain relatively constant throughout. However, many fertility clinics might suggest the test as a part of an initial fertility assessment or prior to beginning fertility treatments like IVF.

In Conclusion

The AMH blood test serves as a potent tool in assessing a woman’s ovarian reserve and planning personalised fertility treatments. Whether you’re attempting to conceive naturally, preparing for IVF, or just wish to know more about your fertility, an AMH test could offer invaluable insights. Always consult with a fertility specialist to discuss your options and understand what’s best for your individual circumstances.

Discover more about the Blood Tests we offer at London Pregnancy Clinic.

Gynaecological Pelvic Scans: Importance, Procedure, and Diagnostics

In the realm of gynaecology, pelvic scans play a crucial role in maintaining women’s health. These essential imaging tests help visualise the organs within the female pelvic region, aiding the diagnosis of various conditions. This comprehensive blog post provides an in-depth understanding of gynaecological pelvic scans – their importance, procedure, potential risks, the conditions they can diagnose, their history, and the organs they help visualise.

Why Are Gynaecological Pelvic Scans Important?

Gynaecological pelvic scans provide detailed images of the female pelvic organs, including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and bladder. This non-invasive procedure aids in the diagnosis and management of numerous conditions such as fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and even cancer.

This type of imaging allows medical professionals to identify abnormalities, track their progress, and evaluate the effectiveness of treatments. It’s also a vital tool for pregnancy management, helping to monitor foetal development, placental health, and diagnose ectopic pregnancies.

How are Gynaecological Pelvic Scans Performed?

Pelvic scans in gynaecology are typically performed through ultrasound technology. Ultrasounds work by emitting high-frequency sound waves that bounce off tissues and organs, creating echoes that are converted into real-time images.

There are two main types of gynaecological pelvic scans: transabdominal and transvaginal. The transabdominal scan is performed externally, with a probe moved over the lower abdomen. For a transvaginal scan, a specially designed probe is inserted into the vagina, providing closer, more detailed images of the pelvic organs.

Are There Any Risks? Are They Painful?

Gynaecological pelvic scans are generally safe, non-invasive procedures with minimal risk. Ultrasound technology does not involve radiation, making it safer than other imaging techniques.

In terms of discomfort, while some women might experience mild discomfort during a transvaginal scan, it’s typically not painful. The procedure is usually quick, and any discomfort tends to subside immediately after the scan.

Is There a Need for Preparation?

Preparation for a gynaecological pelvic scan may vary depending on the type of ultrasound. For a transabdominal scan, patients may be asked to drink water before the procedure to fill the bladder, which allows better visualisation of the pelvic organs. For a transvaginal scan, typically, no specific preparation is required.

Conditions Diagnosed by Gynaecological Pelvic Scans

Pelvic scans can diagnose a multitude of conditions, including:

  1. Fibroids: Non-cancerous growths in the uterus, often appearing during childbearing years.
  2. Ovarian cysts: Fluid-filled sacs in the ovary, usually harmless but occasionally requiring treatment.
  3. Endometriosis: A condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside it, causing pain and potentially affecting fertility.
  4. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): An infection of the female reproductive organs, often due to sexually transmitted bacteria.
  5. Gynaecological cancers: Pelvic scans help detect and manage cancers of the cervix, uterus, and ovaries.

The History of Scans in Gynaecology

The use of ultrasound technology in gynaecology has evolved significantly since its first clinical application in the 1950s. The initial ‘A-mode’ ultrasounds, which provided one-dimensional information, evolved into ‘B-mode’ in the late 1950s, delivering two-dimensional images. The introduction of Doppler ultrasound in the 1970s brought colour to the images, providing information about blood flow. Today, we even have 3D and 4D ultrasounds, allowing for detailed three-dimensional imaging and real-time movement.

Organs Visualised by Gynaecological Pelvic Scans

Gynaecological pelvic scans offer comprehensive imaging of the female pelvic organs. This includes the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and bladder. Another type of scan that specifically focuses on the potency of the fallopian tubes is know as HyCoSy.

Pregnancy Testing – Deep Dive into the Beta HCG Test

Pregnancy tests aim to provide a simple yet effective method of determining if you’re pregnant. There are two primary types of pregnancy tests available: urine tests and blood tests. While urine tests are more commonly used due to their convenience and over-the-counter availability, blood tests, specifically the Beta HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) test, offer a more detailed insight into the pregnancy. Here’s an in-depth look at the Beta HCG pregnancy test, how it differs from urine tests, its accuracy, uses, and how to interpret the results.

What is a Beta HCG Pregnancy Test?

A Beta HCG test is a blood test used to detect pregnancy. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone produced by the placenta after implantation. The beta subunit of HCG can be detected in the blood serum of expectant mothers approximately 11 days after conception; HCG can be detected in the urine 12-14 days after conception.

There are two types of HCG tests:

  1. Qualitative HCG test: This test simply detects the presence of HCG in the blood. It gives a “yes” or “no” answer to the question, “Are you pregnant?” Doctors often order this test to confirm pregnancy.
  2. Quantitative HCG test (Beta HCG): This test measures the specific level of HCG in the blood. It can detect even very low levels of HCG, making it a highly accurate test.

How Does a Beta HCG Test Differ from Urine Tests?

While both urine pregnancy tests and Beta HCG tests aim to detect the presence of HCG, there are distinct differences:

  1. Method of Testing: Urine tests can be done at home, while Beta HCG tests require a blood sample taken in a healthcare setting.
  2. Sensitivity: Beta HCG tests are more sensitive than urine tests and can detect lower levels of HCG. This means they can confirm pregnancy earlier than urine tests — typically around 11 days after conception.
  3. Information Provided: While urine tests only provide a positive or negative result, a Beta HCG test can provide more information about the pregnancy, like the approximate age of the fetus, or if there are potential complications.

The Accuracy of Beta HCG Pregnancy Test

Beta HCG tests are highly accurate. Because they can measure the exact amount of HCG in the blood, they can detect pregnancy earlier than urine tests, and they can also confirm or rule out potential problems.

However, while the Beta HCG test can detect if you’re pregnant, a single test can’t always accurately predict a healthy pregnancy. Levels of HCG can vary greatly among individuals, and a single measurement isn’t always indicative of a problem or complication. Doctors often will test HCG levels more than once, looking at how the levels change over time.

Uses of Beta HCG Pregnancy Test

Aside from confirming pregnancy, a Beta HCG test can be used for the following:

  1. Monitoring Pregnancy: Doctors may use Beta HCG tests to monitor the health of a pregnancy, particularly in the early weeks. They may use serial measurements to see if HCG levels are rising as they should.
  2. Identifying Ectopic Pregnancy: Lower than usual levels of HCG or levels that do not increase as they should may suggest an ectopic pregnancy — where the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus.
  3. Screening for Down’s Syndrome: As part of the “double,” “triple,” or “quadruple” screen test, the Beta HCG test can help assess a baby’s risk of Down syndrome.

Interpreting Beta HCG Test Results

Interpreting Beta HCG test results isn’t always straightforward, as normal HCG levels can vary widely. Typically, in a healthy pregnancy, HCG levels double approximately every 48 hours in the first weeks following conception.

However, unusually high or low levels, or levels that don’t increase as they should, might indicate a problem, such as an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage, or a potential chromosomal abnormality. In such cases, your healthcare provider will likely order further tests to determine the cause of the abnormal HCG levels.

It’s important to remember that while the Beta HCG test is a crucial tool in pregnancy monitoring, it is just one aspect of a larger picture. It should be used in conjunction with other tests and examinations to ensure a comprehensive understanding of both maternal and fetal health.

In conclusion, the Beta HCG pregnancy test is a sensitive, accurate, and versatile tool in the early detection and monitoring of pregnancy. By understanding its uses and how to interpret the results, you can gain a more comprehensive view of your pregnancy journey.

Here are typical ranges for hCG levels during pregnancy:

  • 3 weeks: 5 – 50 mIU/mL
  • 4 weeks: 5 – 426 mIU/mL
  • 5 weeks: 18 – 7,340 mIU/mL
  • 6 weeks: 1,080 – 56,500 mIU/mL
  • 7 – 8 weeks: 7,650 – 229,000 mIU/mL
  • 9 – 12 weeks: 25,700 – 288,000 mIU/mL
  • 13 – 16 weeks: 13,300 – 254,000 mIU/mL
  • 17 – 24 weeks: 4,060 – 165,400 mIU/mL
  • 25 – 40 weeks: 3,640 – 117,000 mIU/mL

Looking to book a blood test with us? Please visit our Blood Tests page. If you already had your pregnancy confirmed, we recommend to book an early pregnancy scan to check for the baby’s wellbeing.

Your Fertility Scan Guide 

Endometrial Lining Scan 

Endometrial Lining Scan, also known as the ‘Baseline Scan’, is designed to assess the thickness of the womb as well as its general outline and structure. 

These scans are popular amongst patients going through IVF treatment and are designed to guide your referring clinician, helping them to understand and plan your treatment accordingly. This is done by estimating the best time and chances for conception in addition to preparation prior to embryo transfer. Book here.

London Pregnancy Clinic offer three price packages for Endometrial Lining Scans: 

  • Endometrial Lining Scan/Baseline Scan – £120 
  • One lining ultrasound scan 
  • Rose Package – £220 
  • Two lining ultrasound scans 
  • Lily Package – £320 
  • Three lining ultrasound scans 

Follicular Tracking Scan 

Follicular Tracking Scan, also known as Antral Follicle Count, assesses the total number and size of the follicles in each ovary. 

These scans are popular amongst those going through IVF treatment. Follicle Tracking Scan helps your referring clinician to make important decisions in your fertility treatment and as such it is imperative to get accurate readings. Book now.

Similar to Endometrial Lining Scan, we offer three price packages for Follicular Tracking Scans: 

  • Follicle Tracking Scan/Antral Follicle Count: £150 
  • One follicle tracking ultrasound scan 
  • Rose Package – £270 
  • Two follicle tracking ultrasound scans 
  • Lily Package – £390 
  • Three follicle tracking ultrasound scans 

HyCoSy Scan 

This is an advanced ultrasound scan to examine the fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries providing an important insight into your fertility. 

HyCosy scans are performed by our expert Consultant Gynaecologist, Mr Prashant Purohit, specialises in reproductive medicine and fertility assessment. HyCoSy scans are recommended for patients who have experienced difficulties in getting pregnant. Book now.

  • Cost: £500 including a pre-procedure consultation 

Blood Test Services 

London Pregnancy Clinic offers a variety of different blood tests with a short turnaround time. The results will be sent to you and your referring consultant through our secure online system.