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Understanding Pregnancy Tests

A modern, minimalist illustration depicting a hand holding a positive pregnancy test, surrounded by abstract shapes and elements in light orange and baby pink, symbolising joy and new beginnings.

Understanding Pregnancy Tests:

Your First Step Towards Motherhood and beyond.

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Discover the essentials of a pregnancy test, from how they work to the different types available and what steps to take after getting your results. This guide offers peace of mind as you embark on your journey to motherhood.

Pregnancy tests are the first beacon of information in your journey towards motherhood. They detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone your body produces during pregnancy. Highly accurate, these tests offer reassurance and a preliminary confirmation of pregnancy, paving the way for the exciting journey ahead.

How does a Pregnancy Test Work?

Pregnancy tests search for hCG in your urine, which your body starts producing shortly after a fertilised egg attaches to your uterus. This hormone’s levels double every two to three days in early pregnancy, making urine and blood tests highly effective ways to confirm pregnancy. While home tests offer privacy and quick results, blood tests at your doctor’s office can confirm pregnancy earlier and more accurately.

Over-the-counter (OTC) tests detect the HCG hormone in urine, with various methods depending on the chosen kit. You might dip a stick into collected urine, use an eyedropper for transferring urine to a container, or place the stick directly in your urine stream mid-flow.

Home pregnancy tests boast a near-99% accuracy rate when used as directed by the Office on Women’s Health. These tests offer privacy, simplicity, and quick results, usually within minutes. Results could appear as a color change, a line, a symbol (like a plus or minus), or explicitly as “pregnant” or “not pregnant.” A negative outcome might not be definitive, especially if instructions weren’t followed, the test was taken too soon, or certain medications interfered. Consult a pharmacist about potential medication effects on test results.

If symptoms persist or your period doesn’t commence, try another test in a week. Seek GP advice for continuous negative results without menstruation. Some pharmacies and GPs provide tests, sometimes free or for a nominal fee, ensuring even quicker answers. Remember, if going to your GP, bring a urine sample in a clean container. Results can take days, though some tests are instant.

Wondering when to take a pregnancy test?

Some highly sensitive tests can detect pregnancy before your period is due. Yet, waiting until the first day of a missed period boosts accuracy. For the clearest result, test a week after missing your period.

Tests measure HCG, a hormone present only during pregnancy. This hormone appears after a fertilized egg attaches to the uterus, a process known as implantation, occurring about 10 days post-conception. HCG traces can appear 6 days post-implantation, but levels usually need 7–10 days to become detectable. If your cycles are irregular, testing 21 days after unprotected intercourse is wise. Testing too early may yield inaccurate results.

Types of Pregnancy Tests

Opt for Home Pregnancy Tests: Seeking a convenient option? Home pregnancy tests offer privacy. Conduct these tests as soon as you miss your period. They promise up to 99% accuracy when used as directed.

Consider Blood Tests: Need an early confirmation? Blood tests, performed in healthcare settings, can provide it. Although less commonly used, they’re highly accurate for early detection. At London Pregnancy Clinic we can perform these tests and one of our phlebotomists will assist you.

Signs you may be pregnant

Spotting early pregnancy signs is crucial. If you notice any unusual changes, consider a pregnancy test. Here’s a restructured and concise guide to understanding these signs.

Missed Period: A hallmark sign, missing your period suggests it’s time for a test. While a standard cycle lasts about 28 days, they can range from 24–38 days. If over a month has passed without your period, testing is wise. However, stress, medication, and changes in birth control can also affect your cycle. Early pregnancy might show light spotting as the egg implants, which differs from a regular period. Consult a doctor for any bleeding with a positive test.

Cramping: Similar to menstrual cramps, early pregnancy might bring discomfort. If your period doesn’t follow, testing is advisable.

Breast Changes: Pregnancy increases estrogen and progesterone levels, leading to tender, fuller breasts and darker veins. These symptoms can also precede a period, so they’re not definitive of pregnancy.

Feeling Different: Early signs include nausea, food aversions, fatigue, and frequent urination. Pay attention to your body; any distinct changes might indicate it’s time for a test.

Failed Birth Control: No method is 100% foolproof. Pills might fail, especially if not used perfectly, and condoms can break. Despite the effectiveness of long-term options like IUDs, pregnancy is still possible. If experiencing other pregnancy signs, take a test, regardless of your birth control use.

Remember, understanding your body’s signals is key. If you’re encountering any of these symptoms, a pregnancy test can provide early insight, allowing for prompt healthcare consultation. At London Pregnancy Clinic, we’re here to support you with tailored advice and comprehensive care for your pregnancy journey.

Embarking on Your Journey

A positive test marks the start of a remarkable journey. Your next move? Book an appointment with your healthcare provider. This crucial visit can verify your pregnancy with additional tests. It also kick-starts vital prenatal care, safeguarding your well-being and your baby’s health. Embrace this journey, prioritising health and care from the outset. Your provider will guide you through each step, ensuring you and your baby thrive.

At the LPC, we understand the emotional and physical significance of this phase in your life. Recognising the unique needs and concerns of expectant mothers, LPC offers the opportunity to book your first appointment directly with a midwife. This personal touch ensures that you receive tailored advice and support right from the outset.

Furthermore, LPC introduces an option that diverges from the standard NHS protocol. Recognising the desire for early reassurance, we offer a viability scan as early as 6-9 weeks into the pregnancy. This service caters to those eager for an earlier confirmation of their pregnancy’s progression, rather than waiting until the NHS’s 12-week scan. The decision to opt for this early scan underscores the importance of peace of mind and the value of early connection with the developing life within.

The viability scan presents a window into the womb, offering expectant parents their first glimpse of their unborn child and the heartbeat that symbolises life. This experience often strengthens the bond between parent and child, grounding the reality of the pregnancy and fostering an early emotional connection.

Ultrasound Screening Vital for Early Detection

Ultrasound screenings are not just routine checks; they’re crucial for early prenatal care. These scans help identify potential structural anomalies in the baby’s development, which are pivotal for addressing congenital anomalies. At London Pregnancy Clinic, we specialise in providing comprehensive ultrasound screenings, tailored to each stage of pregnancy, ensuring early detection and peace of mind from 10 weeks onward.

Many inquire about the possibility of conducting a scan at 4 weeks. However, at such an early stage, the ultrasound reveals limited details, often not enough to confirm a pregnancy. By 5 weeks, while we may observe the gestational and yolk sacs, these findings alone do not confirm pregnancy viability. It’s this understanding that shapes our recommendation for the optimal timing of your first scan to be held off until week 6/7.

Our 10 Week Scan stands out, offering a unique glimpse into the womb to detect 10 critical fetal anomalies. This pioneering scan, exclusive to our clinic, aligns perfectly with Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), elevating the standard of prenatal care available to you.

The cornerstone of our scanning services, the Early Fetal Scan, provides an in-depth examination aimed at identifying over 100 serious anomalies well before the standard NHS 19-20 week scan. This early insight grants expectant parents the reassurance and crucial information needed during these formative weeks.

Our approach to prenatal screenings is revolutionary, offering early answers and invaluable peace of mind. Through our advanced screening capabilities, we illuminate potential concerns, facilitating timely interventions. These scans are more than mere procedures; they are essential milestones providing reassurance that your baby’s development is on course, empowering you to manage your pregnancy with informed confidence and proactive care.

Final Thoughts

At the London Pregnancy Clinic, we’re here to support you from the very first step. If you’ve taken a pregnancy test and are ready for the next stage, or if you have questions about pregnancy tests, our team is here to assist you. You can use our EDD calculator to figure out when your baby might arrive.

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Baby Structures During Pregnancy

Graphic of a stork carrying a baby over the city of London hospital. Blog about baby structures.

Fetal Structures & Ultrasound:

Prenatal Ultrasound’s role in screening baby structures.

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  • Visual guide from London Pregnancy Clinic detailing ultrasound scans for baby structural development.

  • Detailed diagram from London Pregnancy Clinic showing key baby structures during pregnancy development.

  • London Pregnancy Clinic statistics infographic on structural anomalies in fetal development with a 79% pie chart.

  • London Pregnancy Clinic timeline for fetal anomaly scans during pregnancy trimesters.

  • Illustration explaining transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasound scans at London Pregnancy Clinic.

  • Dr. Fred Ushakov at London Pregnancy Clinic highlighting expertise in fetal anomaly screenings.

  • FAQ section on London Pregnancy Clinic website discussing ultrasound scans for genetic anomalies detection.

Pregnancy is a journey of discovery, not just of the self but also of the little life growing inside you. Among the many wonders this period brings is the ability to glimpse into your baby’s developing world through ultrasound screenings. Here we delve into the critical aspects of baby structures, their development, and the pivotal role of ultrasound in ensuring the well-being of your unborn child.

As expectant mothers, the health and development of our unborn child is paramount. Advances in medical technology have gifted us with the ultrasound, a window into the womb, allowing us to monitor the growth and health of our babies like never before. Understanding the structures of a developing baby provides invaluable insights into their well-being and development.

What are fetal structures?

“Baby structures”, or fetal structures, usually denote the anatomical features and organs constituting a human fetus throughout pregnancy, also referred to as the physical development of the baby. It is important to note that this does not include genetic anomalies like Down Syndrome. Fetal development is a complex process where vital structures like the brain, heart, spine, and limbs evolve significantly:

Brain: Development kicks off around week 5 with the neural tube, leading to the brain and spinal cord’s formation. By the second trimester’s close, the brain’s structure mirrors that of an adult, showcasing an almost fully developed brain stem.

Heart: One of the earliest and most significant markers we observe during our dating scan is the heartbeat at 6 weeks, visible through ultrasound, providing crucial insight into the baby’s health and development at this early stage. This marks the beginning of the heart’s rhythmic life-sustaining beats.

Spine: The spine’s journey begins around weeks 6-7, laying the groundwork for the nervous system’s housing and body support. This period also sees the onset of bone development, integral to the body’s framework.

Limbs: Concurrently, weeks 6-7 see the emergence of arm and leg buds, with hands, feet, and digits evolving throughout the pregnancy. These developments are pivotal for the baby’s eventual movement capabilities.

The structures extend to encompass vital organs like the liver and kidneys, which are essential for processing nutrients and waste, the skull that protects the developing brain, and the umbilical cord, a lifeline connecting the baby to the placenta. Additionally, the abdominal organs, critical for digestion and other bodily functions, are part of this intricate network of development, underlining the complexity and wonder of fetal growth during pregnancy. Monitoring these structures’ growth is vital, employing fetal heart rate monitoring, ultrasounds, and physical exams to ensure the baby’s health and well-being.

Monitoring Key Baby Structures 

Expectant mothers cherish every moment of their pregnancy journey, closely observing their baby’s development. The fetus’s organs and anatomical features, notably the brain, heart, spine, and limbs, undergo remarkable transformations. These critical structures not only signify health but also ensure the baby’s overall development and well-being.

From the first to the third trimester, various scans are recommended to monitor your baby’s development. These range from the 10-week scan, aiming to exclude major fetal anomalies, to the fetal echo scan and the anomaly scan, each designed to screen for specific conditions at different stages of pregnancy .

The majority of fetal anomaly scans are conducted transabdominally (watch our video on ultrasound probes), offering a glimpse of the baby’s heartbeat and structures. In certain cases, a transvaginal scan might be necessary for a more detailed view, especially when the baby is positioned awkwardly or when examining the placenta.

As the fetus grows, so does our anticipation and concern for its health. Regular monitoring of these structures becomes paramount. It reassures us that development proceeds without any hindrances. Specifically, we focus on the baby’s heart and brain, pivotal for life and cognitive functions. The spine’s integrity is equally crucial, supporting the body and housing the nervous system. Moreover, observing the limbs ensures proper growth and the potential for movement. In essence, these structures form the foundation of our baby’s future. Ensuring their optimal development through vigilant monitoring not only secures their health but also paves the way for a thriving life post-birth.

Most Common Structural Anomalies?

According to the European platform on Rare disease registration EU RD Platform, structural anomalies in the baby’s organs represent roughly 79% of widely recognised congenital anomalies. The most common structural anomaly encountered in newborns is congenital heart defects (CHD). These defects, which disrupt the heart’s structure and function post-birth, affect 1 in 100 UK babies. Ventricular septal defect (VSD), or ‘hole in the heart,’ stands out as the predominant issue.

Newborns also face other frequent congenital issues, including:

  • Cleft Lip and Palate: A gap in the mouth’s upper lip and roof.
  • Spina Bifida: The spinal column’s incomplete closure.
  • Neural Tube Defects (NTD): Disorders like anencephaly affecting brain and spinal development. Spina bifida falls under NTDs.
  • Gastroschisis: Intestines extending outside the abdomen from birth.
    Exomphalos or Omphalocele: Abdominal organs bulge through the navel.
  • Clubfoot or Talipes: A foot deformity where it angles inwards and downwards.
  • Limb Reduction Defects: Absence or incomplete limb formation.
  • Polydactyly: Having extra fingers or toes.
  • Intestinal and Duodenal Atresia: Intestine blockages or missing sections.
  • Kidney Anomalies: Various kidney development, structure, or function malformations.

In essence, these conditions highlight the spectrum of potential challenges infants may face from birth, underscoring the importance of early detection and intervention. Awareness and understanding of these common anomalies can lead to better outcomes for affected children, as early intervention often opens the door to corrective procedures and supportive therapies, enhancing quality of life. The emphasis on these conditions reflects a commitment to providing the necessary care and support for affected families, guiding them through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond, with a focus on fostering resilience and hope.

Ultrasound Screening Vital for Early Detection

Ultrasound pregnancy scans transcend mere glimpses into the womb; they are indispensable tools in prenatal care. Structural anomalies within the baby’s organs account for a significant share of congenital anomalies. Fortunately, ultrasound offers a solution, detecting early signs of such conditions. At the London Pregnancy Clinic, our expertise in ultrasound screenings shines at every stage. We tailor our early pregnancy scans to the gestational age, offering unparalleled early detection from 10 weeks onwards.

10 Week Scan: Our clinic excels with a pioneering 10/11-week scan, designed to uncover 10 critical fetal anomalies early on. This scan, unique to our services, complements NIPT seamlessly, setting a new standard in prenatal care.

Early Fetal Scan: The hallmark of our service, the Early Fetal Scan, conducts an exhaustive review of the baby’s development. It’s crafted to spot over 100 serious anomalies well ahead of the standard NHS 19-20 week screenings. Offering this advanced insight provides early reassurance and essential information to expectant parents.

In short, our approach revolutionises prenatal screenings, giving you early answers and peace of mind. It brings to light potential issues, enabling timely interventions. These screenings are not just procedures but gateways to peace of mind for expectant mothers. They assure us that our baby’s development is on the right track, allowing us to address any concerns proactively.

  • Baby with missing left hand at 12 week early pregnancy scan.

    Baby with missing left hand at 12 week, an absence or incomplete limb formation.

  • Normal Early pregnancy scans at 12wk 3D.

    Normal baby at 12 weeks of pregnancy during an early pregnancy scans 3D.

Advanced Anomaly Detection in Late Pregnancy

Early detection of fetal anomalies enables timely interventions, crucial for the well-being of your baby. However, some anomalies manifest later, necessitating advanced screenings in the later stages of pregnancy. Our late-stage anomaly scans are designed to offer peace of mind and crucial insights during the final stages of pregnancy. 

Anomaly Scan: Our 22-23 week Anomaly Scan goes beyond the NHS’s 19–20-week standard, offering a deeper insight into your baby’s development. This comprehensive check includes detailed assessments of the brain, heart, face, fingers, and vital organs. We also provide additional services like uterine artery Doppler and cervical length measurements on request, ensuring an all-encompassing review.

3rd Trimester Anomaly Scan: To address the absence of routine NHS scans post-18-20 weeks, our clinic offers the 3rd Trimester Anomaly Scan between 26-29 weeks. This scan is pivotal for detecting late-manifesting anomalies and monitoring fetal growth and well-being. Given the technical difficulties of scanning after 30 weeks, this period is optimal for identifying significant issues, especially affecting the brain, heart, and kidneys. It’s also an ideal time for clinical 3D/4D imaging, enriching your connection with your unborn child.

Leveraging state-of-the-art technology and thorough assessments, we are committed to delivering unparalleled prenatal care. Trust our expertise to navigate you through these essential phases of pregnancy, providing clarity, early intervention opportunities, and fostering a profound bond with your baby.

Why do we focus on Early detection?

At our clinic, early detection of fetal anomalies stands as a priority, underlining our commitment to comprehensive prenatal care. Early diagnosis paves the way for detailed insights into potential health issues, fostering a deeper understanding and effective management from the outset.

This early intervention allows healthcare experts to convey critical information regarding the anomaly, its possible effects, and the spectrum of care and intervention options available. Such a proactive stance equips parents with the knowledge to make well-informed decisions, streamlines medical planning, and guarantees the availability of essential support and resources.

Given the time-sensitive nature of advanced genetic screenings, including microarrays and exome sequencing, alongside expanded NIPT choices, securing an early diagnosis is crucial. These intricate tests, demanding several weeks for results, underscore the necessity of timely identification. It ensures ample time for exhaustive testing, facilitating a holistic and well-considered approach to prenatal care and support throughout the pregnancy journey.

Embracing this early detection strategy, we aim to guide expectant parents with clarity, empowering them with options and support every step of the way. Our focus on early diagnosis reflects our dedication to delivering exceptional care and support, ensuring a well-informed, reassuring pregnancy experience.

Baby Structures FAQs

  • Can ultrasound detect genetic anomalies?

    While ultrasound scans are adept at identifying physical development and potential structural issues, they cannot detect genetic anomalies. For genetic screening, additional tests like Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) or amniocentesis are recommended.

  • Do the scans guarantee the detection of all anomalies?

    Regrettably, predicting every anomaly before birth is beyond reach. Commonly missed anomalies include isolated cleft palate (a split in the mouth’s roof with intact lips) and ambiguous genitalia. Additionally, certain rare genetic conditions elude detection through ultrasound scans.

  • Structural Anomalies Linked to Genetic Syndromes?

    Noticing structural anomalies or physical differences in a baby during pregnancy often hints at a genetic or chromosomal connection. Simply put, these anomalies might signal an underlying chromosomal or genetic syndrome, commonly referred to as “rare diseases.

    Understanding the tie between genetic makeup and structural anomalies is key. It unravels the complex relationship between a baby’s DNA and their physical traits. An anomaly might stand alone or indicate a broader genetic condition.

    If a baby is diagnosed with a chromosomal or genetic condition, these anomalies manifest the impact of irregular gene functions.

    Crucially, when structural defects accompany chromosomal or genetic conditions, the prognosis tends to be more serious than isolated anomalies. Such conditions frequently correlate with intellectual disabilities or significant health issues, underscoring the importance of early detection and intervention.

  • Why do NIPT with Scan and visa versa?

    Ultrasound plays a crucial role in fetal screening, essential for confirming viability and gestational age alongside NIPT submissions. While NIPT effectively screens for three chromosomal anomalies and other genetic conditions (specific to the panorama test), it doesn’t assess structural anomalies. Conditions like heart or brain defects, often more common and severe than Down’s syndrome, require ultrasound for detection.

    At the London Pregnancy Clinic, our forte is the early identification of fetal anomalies, particularly in the fetal heart and brain. Remarkably, we’re capable of detecting significant anomalies from as early as 10 weeks. Discover more about the scans we pair with NIPT by visiting our scans page; our 10-week scan frequently stands out as the optimum choice.

    Opting for a Panorama Test at 9 weeks? Rest assured, we’ll conduct a detailed structural scan of your baby, albeit with some limitations due to the embryo’s small size and early development stage.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the structures of your developing baby is a crucial part of the pregnancy journey. Ultrasound screenings offer an invaluable tool in this understanding, providing early detection of potential issues and contributing to the effective monitoring of your baby’s health. We invite you to experience the comprehensive care and advanced screening options available at the London Pregnancy Clinic, where we prioritise your peace of mind and your baby’s well-being.

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What is a Doula?

Graphic of celebrating World Doula Day. An illustration of a Doula holding a baby with pregnant women around her.

What is a Doula?

Celebrating the World Doula Week by shedding light on what they do.

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Celebrate World Doula Week with us and discover what is a Doula and the invaluable support they offer to expectant mothers. From emotional support to physical and informational assistance during childbirth, doulas play a crucial role in enhancing the pregnancy experience. Learn how a doula can be part of your journey to motherhood, providing reassurance and strength every step of the way.

As we welcome World Doula Week, let’s spotlight the pivotal role of doulas in the childbirth journey. A doula, known for offering profound support, stands by individuals through childbirth, miscarriage, induced abortion, and stillbirth. Their role transcends mere presence, embracing emotional, physical, and informational support. Doulas guide expectant parents, turning the childbirth process into a more informed, empowering experience.

They shine as beacons of knowledge and comfort, ensuring parents feel heard, valued, and respected. By offering a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a wealth of knowledge, doulas make the path to parenthood less daunting. Their support is not just about the birth process but about fostering a positive, empowering environment for all involved. Doulas help navigate the complex emotions and decisions that come with childbirth and beyond.

What is a Doula?

The term “doula” has its origins deeply rooted in the ancient Greek word δούλα, meaning “a woman who serves”. Over centuries, this concept has significantly evolved, especially during the grassroots natural birth movement in the United States in the 1960s. This era marked a pivotal shift, as women started advocating for unmedicated, low-intervention births, bringing to light the desire for supportive companionship during childbirth that went beyond medical assistance.

Originally, the concept of a doula focused on emotional and physical support during labour and delivery. However, their role has expanded, embodying a comprehensive support system for various stages of pregnancy, including preconception, miscarriage, and postpartum periods. Doulas are now pivotal figures in the childbirth journey, offering guidance, comfort, and advocacy.

Doulas stand out for their personalised care approach. They tailor their support to meet each family’s unique needs, ensuring a more positive and informed pregnancy and birthing experience. From helping devise birth plans to offering strategies for pain management, doulas empower parents-to-be with knowledge and confidence.

Today’s doulas embody this rich heritage, offering non-medical, emotional, and practical support to families during one of the most transformative periods of their lives (this is what sets them apart from midwives). They draw on formal and practical knowledge to empower expectant mothers to have the birth experience they desire, whether it be at home, in a birthing centre, or in a hospital setting. The evolution of the doula’s role from a grassroots movement to a recognised profession underscores a growing appreciation for personalised care and the profound impact of dedicated support during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.

The Role of a Doula

Doulas offer a holistic support system that addresses the emotional, physical, and informational needs of expectant families. Their comprehensive care ensures that mothers feel cherished, bodies are respected, and decisions are well-informed, paving the way for a positive and empowered birth experience.

Emotional Support: Doulas provide unparalleled emotional backing, blending compassion with encouragement. Their role goes beyond mere presence; they become confidants to expectant mothers, offering a listening ear during moments of doubt and joy alike. This emotional scaffolding ensures mothers navigate their pregnancy journey feeling thoroughly supported and deeply understood. The reassurance doulas offer becomes a pillar of strength, fostering a sense of calm and confidence as birth approaches.

Physical Support: In the realm of physical comfort, doulas excel with their hands-on approach. Employing techniques such as massage and recommending various birthing positions, they significantly ease the physical strains of labour. Their expertise in comfort measures transforms the birth experience, making pain more manageable and labour more bearable. By intuitively responding to a mother’s needs, doulas facilitate a smoother birthing process, where discomfort is alleviated, and mothers feel more in control of their bodies.

Informational Support: Armed with evidence-based insights, doulas are invaluable guides through the maze of childbirth and postpartum care. They demystify medical procedures and explain care options, empowering families to make choices that resonate with their values and desires. This informed support ensures that decisions around birth and aftercare are made with clarity and confidence. Doulas’ dedication to providing accurate, up-to-date information helps families approach childbirth with informed optimism, prepared for the journey that lies ahead.

Types of Doulas

Birth Doula: Birth doulas can play a crucial role in supporting expectant mothers through pregnancy, labour, and childbirth. They offer continuous emotional support, guidance, and reassurance. These professionals work closely with families, preparing them for the birthing process, assisting in creating birth plans, and providing techniques for pain management. Their presence ensures a comforting and empowering experience, helping mothers navigate the challenges of childbirth with confidence and calm.

Postpartum Doula: In the early days following a baby’s arrival, postpartum doulas become an invaluable source of support for new families. They assist with newborn care, offer breastfeeding support, and help manage household tasks, allowing parents to focus on bonding with their baby. Their knowledge and experience in postpartum care provide a smooth transition for families during this new chapter, ensuring both the baby’s and the mother’s needs are met with compassion and expertise.

Fertility Doula: Fertility doulas offer support to families facing challenges in conceiving. They provide emotional backing, resources, and guidance through fertility treatments and decisions. By offering a listening ear and informed advice, fertility doulas help couples navigate the often complex and emotional journey towards conception. Their role is to empower and support families, ensuring they feel understood and supported every step of the way.

Each type of doula specialises in catering to the unique needs of families during different stages of the pregnancy journey. Their dedicated support ensures that expectant and new parents feel empowered, informed, and cared for, making the journey to parenthood a more positive and fulfilling experience.

Benefits of Having a Doula

Having a doula during childbirth brings numerous advantages. Notably, mothers with doulas often experience reduced intervention rates, such as fewer cesarean sections and less need for pain relief medication. This support can lead to shorter labour durations, allowing mothers to recover more swiftly post-birth. The presence of a doula often results in more positive birth experiences, with mothers feeling empowered and satisfied with their childbirth journey. Crucially, the enhanced emotional support provided by doulas strengthens the overall well-being of mothers and families, creating a nurturing environment for welcoming new life.

How to Choose a Doula

Selecting the right doula is pivotal for a supportive childbirth experience. Begin by considering their training and experience; a well-trained doula can significantly impact your birth experience. Explore their philosophy on labour and childbirth to ensure it aligns with your personal preferences and values. Compatibility is key—your doula should feel like a natural extension of your support system. Seek recommendations from others who have had positive experiences with doulas. This can offer invaluable insights into potential matches. Finally, trust your instincts; the right doula should make you feel comfortable, heard, and respected.

Choosing a doula is a deeply personal decision, influenced by your unique needs and childbirth aspirations. By carefully considering these aspects, you can select a doula who will enhance your birthing experience, offering the support, knowledge, and care you deserve during this transformative time.

How are Doulas involved

Incorporating a fertility doula into the journey of fertility screening adds a deeply valuable layer of emotional guidance and support. They stand by individuals through the whirlwind of emotions that fertility testing can provoke, offering a comforting presence alongside medical treatments. This support extends to providing a safe, nonjudgmental space where individuals can freely express their concerns and uncertainties.

Fertility doulas excel in demystifying the processes involved in fertility screening. They educate on various fertility options and tackle mental blocks or anxieties that may surface. Their holistic approach aims not just to inform but to empower individuals, ensuring they approach each step with confidence and a well-understood perspective.

During ultrasounds, the role of a fertility doula becomes even more pronounced. Their emotional reassurance and ability to answer questions make a significant difference. They strive to create a serene, supportive environment, simplifying the ultrasound process and bolstering the individual’s spirits throughout the appointment. The calming influence of a doula can effectively mitigate any anxiety or apprehensions, significantly enhancing the overall ultrasound experience.

Fertility doulas provide more than just support; they bring clarity, confidence, and a sense of calm to the often complex and emotional journey of fertility screening. Their involvement ensures that individuals feel not only supported but also empowered and informed every step of the way.

Final Thoughts

You’ve discovered the crucial role of doulas in childbirth, providing emotional, physical, and informational support. Their support enhances the well-being of mothers, newborns, and families during pregnancy, labour, childbirth, and beyond, leading to empowering birth experiences.

Initiated by Ruti Karni Horowitz in Israel in 2011, World Doula Week starts on March 22, celebrating World Doula Day, and continues until March 28 every year. CAPPA’s enthusiastic backing helped turn Horowitz’s idea into a global celebration that welcomes all doulas and doula organisations.

This celebration highlights the positive impact of doulas: fewer C-sections, greater confidence in newborn care, shorter labours, fewer epidural requests, higher breastfeeding success, and increased satisfaction with the birth process. Doulas also play a role in reducing postpartum mood disorders. Chosen for its cultural significance of renewed fertility, March 22 aligns with the spring equinox, reflecting the doula’s role in welcoming and nurturing new beginnings worldwide.

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International Women’s Day 2024

International Women's Day celebration with diverse female healthcare practitioners and a pregnant woman, highlighting early ultrasound technology at London Pregnancy Clinic.

International Women’s Day 2024

Celebrating the Vanguard of Women’s Healthcare

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This International Women’s Day, we delve into the extraordinary advancements in women’s healthcare, with a special emphasis on prenatal and maternal well-being. It’s a tribute to the indomitable spirit of female healthcare pioneers who have not only contributed to but fundamentally transformed, the landscape of pregnancy and childbirth experiences. At the London Pregnancy Clinic (LPC), we are privileged to uphold this legacy, offering expectant mothers the pinnacle of care and support, inspired by these remarkable achievements.

International Women’s Day serves as a beacon, highlighting the incredible strides towards gender parity and the monumental role women have played across sectors, particularly in healthcare. The sphere of prenatal and maternal health owes much to the tireless efforts and innovations of countless women. Their legacy is a testament to the improved care and support that expectant mothers receive at LPC, as we celebrate these achievements and reflect on how they continue to shape our services.

Milestones in Women’s Healthcare

The evolution of women’s healthcare is marked by key milestones and breakthroughs, many of which were pioneered by women. From the early establishment of women-only hospitals to pivotal research in gynaecology and obstetrics, women have always been at the forefront. Icons such as Dr. Virginia Apgar, creator of the Apgar Score, and Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first African American woman to earn a medical degree in the U.S., have significantly advanced maternal and child health.

Contemporary Advances in Prenatal Care

The legacy of these pioneering women is evident in today’s advanced prenatal care technologies. Innovations such as non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) and enhanced ultrasound imaging have revolutionised prenatal care, facilitating early detection and intervention when necessary. At LPC, we integrate these advancements to ensure our care protocols reflect the latest in healthcare innovation, thus providing expectant mothers with unparalleled support.

LPC’s Dedication to Women’s Health

At LPC, our mission is to continue this tradition of innovation and compassionate care in women’s health. We offer comprehensive prenatal services designed to support women throughout their pregnancy journey, incorporating early pregnancy assessments, detailed anomaly scans, and beyond. Our team is devoted to creating a nurturing environment that informs, supports, and cares for every expectant mother.

A crucial aspect of today’s prenatal care is the early pregnancy scan, offered from as early as 6 weeks. These scans, pivotal for early reassurance, help detect potential issues and ensure the well-being of both mother and baby from the outset. At LPC, we emphasise the importance of early scans, as they are a cornerstone of comprehensive prenatal care, embodying the advancements in women’s healthcare.

Heartfelt Thank You to Our Female Team

On this significant day, we extend our deepest gratitude to the incredible women on our team at LPC. Their dedication, expertise, and empathy are the bedrock of our clinic. Each day, they embody the spirit of the pioneering women we honour, continuing to make strides in healthcare and ensuring our expectant mothers receive the best possible care. To our female doctors, nurses, midwives, and support staff: thank you for your unwavering commitment to excellence and compassion in healthcare.

Future Inspired by Our Foremothers

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us remember the extraordinary women who have paved the way for today’s advancements in women’s healthcare. Their indelible mark on history inspires us to forge ahead, striving for a future where healthcare equality is a reality for all women. At LPC, we are proud to contribute to this legacy, ensuring that every expectant mother benefits from the highest standard of care and support.

The pursuit of gender equality in healthcare is more than a moral imperative; it’s a necessity for societal advancement. Closing the women’s health gap would not only enable more women to lead healthier, higher-quality lives but also provide an unprecedented boost to the global economy. It’s a goal that LPC actively supports, through our dedicated services and by championing women’s health and empowerment.

Final Thoughts

This International Women’s Day, let us celebrate the achievements in women’s healthcare and the pioneering women behind these advancements. Their contributions have not only shaped the field of prenatal and maternal health but also continue to inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals. At LPC, we are honoured to uphold this legacy, committed to empowering expectant mothers with the best care possible.

Join us in honouring these healthcare heroes and learn more about the bespoke services LPC offers to expectant mothers. Whether you’re exploring prenatal care options or seeking educational resources, we invite you to get in touch. Together, we can celebrate the achievements of the past while empowering the women of today and tomorrow.

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Hertility x LPC partnership

Minimalist flat design illustration of fertility and pregnancy ultrasound partnership between specialists London Pregnancy Clinic and Hertility.

Hertility x LPC partnership:

Bringing Fertility and pregnancy ultrasound support for women

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Discover the transformative partnership between Hertility and London Pregnancy Clinic, revolutionising the way you access fertility and pregnancy ultrasound services. From early pregnancy to specialised scans, our collaboration ensures you receive world-class care without the wait, at a price you can afford.

In an exciting development for expectant mothers and those on their fertility journey, Hertility has partnered with us, London Pregnancy Clinic (LPC), transforming access to reproductive healthcare. Understanding the emotional toll of waiting for your first pregnancy scan, we’ve come together to offer you world-class scanning facilities, ensuring early reassurance through ultrasound without the long wait. It promises to bridge the gap between fertility understanding and pregnancy care, offering an integrated approach to women’s health that is both convenient and comprehensive. Both fertility and pregnancy ultrasound are very important and we are going to unpack what we can offer.

Who is Hertility?

In 2020, Hertility was conceived with a distinct vision by Dr. Helen O’Neill, Dr. Natalie Getreu, and Deirdre O’Neill. It sprang from a realisation that women’s health complexities were often overlooked, with conditions remaining enigmatic within the healthcare system. Hertility emerged as a beacon, championing the cause of bringing reproductive science into the hands of women globally.

Tired of the gaps in women’s healthcare, Hertility was born out of necessity. It became clear that the data underpinning women’s health was not only insufficient but also largely based on male physiology, leading to a paradigm shift in approach. Dr. O’Neill, through her fifteen years in academia, recognised the urgency for tailored datasets that reflect the true nature of female health concerns. Hertility is not just a company; it’s a movement towards empowering women with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their health and life choices.

Why was Hertility Created?

The inception of Hertility was motivated by the profound desire to address the elephant in the womb – the inherent complexities of female reproductive health. With a staggering 60% of women grappling with hormone and gynae issues and the diagnosis of fertility disorders stretching up to eight years, Hertility’s founders saw the dire need for change. By empowering women with accessible, research-led health assessments, Hertility is breaking barriers and shining a light on the path to understanding and managing women’s health effectively.

Hertility’s resolve to be research-led has set a new standard in women’s healthcare. It stands firmly on the foundation of clinical trials and extensive data collection, ensuring every insight provided is robust and actionable. Hertility’s comprehensive at-home hormone and fertility tests are more than just diagnostics; they are a clarion call to acknowledge and act on women’s reproductive health needs. The company’s commitment to sharing their findings reflects their ethos of transparency and education, making Hertility a true vanguard in the realm of women’s health.

Why Hertility and LPC?

Hertility is at the forefront of women’s health, offering at-home hormone and fertility test kits designed to empower women with knowledge about their reproductive health. Their comprehensive approach evaluates various factors, including hormonal balance, ovarian reserve, and potential reproductive health conditions, to provide actionable insights.

Understanding the importance of seamless care, Hertility’s partnership with LPC is a natural progression. LPC’s reputation for excellence in fertility and pregnancy ultrasound complements Hertility’s mission, providing a continuum of care that supports women from fertility assessment through to pregnancy. From fertility screening to anomaly scan we provide a large variety of services for women from our London clinic.

  • Fertility and pregnancy ultrasound services at  London Pregnancy Clinic - Viability scan

    Viability scan 3D image

  • Image showing what would an ultrasound show at 6 weeks of pregnancy. You can see the fetal pole, gestational sac and yolk sac. It shows an Ultrasound image by London Pregnancy Clinic that shows the gestational sac and how small it is - for educational purpose.

    You can see the fetal pole, gestational sac and yolk sac at week 6.

Fertility and pregnancy ultrasound

  • Early Pregnancy Scans: Available from 6 weeks, these scans offer early reassurance, confirming the presence of a gestational sac and fetal heartbeat. The first scan we offer is called the viability scan (or the 6-week scan).
  • HyCoSy Scans: For those investigating fertility concerns, HyCoSy scans assess tubal patency, crucial for understanding potential fertility issues.
  • General, Anomaly, and Early Fetal Scans: A comprehensive range of scans ensures that every aspect of your pregnancy is monitored, from general health checks to detailed anomaly scans. We specialise in NIPT and 10 Week Scan, which is our signature early pregnancy scan.

All scans at LPC are conducted by consultant-level doctors or specialist sonographers in fetal medicine, gynaecology, and fertility. Overseen by Dr Fred Ushakov, a renowned specialist in fetal medicine and obstetrical ultrasound, our team guarantees the highest standard of care.

Why Wait? Early Scans Available from 6 Weeks

The first few weeks of pregnancy are a profound journey filled with anticipation and, sometimes, anxiety. Traditionally, expecting mothers wait until the 11 to 14-week mark for their first scan, a period filled with unanswered questions and needless worries. Recognising the importance of early reassurance, LPC opens its doors to Hertility customers for pregnancy scans starting as early as 6 weeks. Our goal? To provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your pregnancy is progressing as expected, as soon as possible.

If you’re navigating the journey of fertility and pregnancy, let Hertility and LPC guide you to a path of informed, supported, and comprehensive care. You can check out our fertility and pregnancy ultrasound services!

Final thoughts

Hertility’s partnership with the London Pregnancy Clinic marks a defining moment in women’s health. With Hertility’s research-driven methodology and our fertility and pregnancy ultrasound services, we hope to provide a holistic approach for all women. Our combined effort provides an answer to the calls for early and accessible pregnancy scans, ensuring that expectant mothers receive the support and assurance they need, precisely when they need it. This collaboration goes beyond convenience; it is a powerful statement that women’s health deserves prioritisation and respect.

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Baby Loss Certificate – DHSC

Modern and minimalist artwork by London Pregnancy Clinic, symbolising remembrance and hope with a stylised candle and heart for baby loss certificate pre-24 week.

Introduction of Baby Loss Certificates

Honouring the Journey of Loss

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In a compassionate move by the Department of Health and Social Care, parents who have endured the heartbreak of pregnancy loss before 24 weeks now have the option to apply for a Baby Loss Certificate from today, 22 February 2024. This initiative, acknowledging the profound grief of losing a baby at any stage of pregnancy, represents a significant step towards offering formal recognition and support to bereaved families across England.

The pain of losing a baby is an indescribably devastating experience for parents, often leaving emotional scars that can last a lifetime. Recognising this profound loss, the government has introduced a voluntary scheme for Baby Loss Certificates, aimed at providing formal recognition of the grief parents endure. This initiative is part of the broader Women’s Health Strategy for England, ensuring that the journey of loss is acknowledged and supported.

A Compassionate Initiative

The UK government has implemented initiatives to enhance the care and support available to parents who experience pregnancy losses before 24 weeks. Among these initiatives is the introduction of Baby Loss Certificates, designed to formally acknowledge the grief and loss experienced by parents during early pregnancy. Additionally, the development of specialist recurrent loss clinics aims to offer targeted and holistic support to individuals affected by repeated losses.

Statistics by Tommy’s highlight the prevalence and impact of early pregnancy loss, with an estimated 1 in 5 pregnancies ending in miscarriage (or 1 in 6 considering only those miscarriages that are realised or reported by women). This translates to approximately 250,000 miscarriages annually across the UK. Furthermore, there are around 11,000 emergency admissions each year for ectopic pregnancies, underscoring the significant number of individuals and families affected by early pregnancy complications.

Available from 9 am today, the scheme allows parents to apply for a certificate to acknowledge their loss formally. Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins highlighted the importance of supporting women and parents affected by such a traumatic event, thanking the tireless efforts of charities and campaigners who have worked to bring this initiative to life.

What is Miscarriage

Miscarriage, defined as the loss of a pregnancy before the 23rd week, often presents through symptoms like vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramping. It’s vital to seek immediate medical advice from a GP or midwife upon experiencing these signs. Although light bleeding can occur in early pregnancy without leading to miscarriage, professional assessment is crucial for health and peace of mind.

The causes of miscarriage are varied, with many instances linked to chromosomal abnormalities in the baby that prevent normal development. It’s important to note that these occurrences are usually beyond anyone’s control and do not result from the actions of the parents. While the prevention of many miscarriages is out of one’s hands, adopting a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy can minimise risk factors.

The aftermath of a miscarriage can be emotionally taxing, evoking a range of feelings from guilt and shock to anger. Support is available through various channels including hospital counselling services, the Miscarriage Association, and other charities that offer guidance, support, and resources for grieving parents. Creating a memorial for the lost baby can also provide a sense of closure and a way to honour their memory.

Navigating the Path of Grief

Navigating the aftermath of a miscarriage requires compassionate support and understanding. Organisations like the Miscarriage Association, hospital counselling services, and Cruse Bereavement Care offer invaluable resources for those grieving. Sharing your experience with someone who understands, considering a memorial, and joining support groups can provide comfort and a sense of community. While the emotional journey is deeply personal, with feelings ranging from guilt to anger, it’s important to allow yourself time to grieve and heal. 

Delivering on Promises: Baby Loss Certificate

The introduction of a Baby Loss Certificate fulfils a key recommendation from the independent Pregnancy Loss Review, aimed at enhancing the care and support provided to grieving parents. Minister for the Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield, emphasised the government’s commitment to listening to parents’ experiences and introducing measures that recognise their loss as part of a comprehensive plan for women’s health.

In alignment with improving maternity care and support for birth trauma, the government is also investing £25 million in women’s health hubs. These hubs are designed to provide integrated services, facilitating easier access to crucial health services for women, further embodying the government’s commitment to supporting women’s health and wellbeing comprehensively.

“Being able to register that child’s name and their date of birth means a lot to parents.”

– Maria Caulfield on Sky News

Stakeholder Perspectives

The scheme has been met with positive reactions from key stakeholders and bereavement care experts. Zoe Clark-Coates MBE of the Mariposa Trust, a co-chair of the Pregnancy Loss Review, expressed her thrill at the formal acknowledgement of lost babies, hoping it aids the grieving process. Similarly, Samantha Collinge, Bereavement Lead Midwife, and Ruth Bender Atik of the Miscarriage Association have highlighted the importance of recognising every loss, emphasising that the emotional impact of early pregnancy loss is significant and deserves acknowledgement.


The launch of the Baby Loss Certificate scheme marks a monumental step in acknowledging and supporting the grief of parents who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy. It’s a reminder that their loss is significant, their grief is valid, and they are not alone. For those who have gone through this heartbreak, applying for a certificate can be a step towards healing, offering a tangible acknowledgement of their baby’s existence.

We encourage our readers to spread awareness of this supportive initiative and to reach out for support if they are navigating the journey of loss. Remember, the London Pregnancy Clinic team is here to support you through every step of your pregnancy journey, including the moments of loss and grief.

For parents in England wishing to obtain a certificate recognising their loss, please follow this link. If you are in Scotland and seeking a certificate, click here.

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