Skip to main content

Tag: baby

Blood Tests During Pregnancy

Modern minimalist illustration of a hand holding a syringe, in soft light orange and baby pink tones, symbolising blood tests during pregnancy at London Pregnancy Clinic.

Blood Tests During Pregnancy:

Ensuring the Health of You and Your Baby.

  • Published

  • Last Modified


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.

Latest Stories

Continue reading

Innovations in Pregnancy Care

An illustration for a blog post about a London Pregnancy Clinic event, depicting a serene winter scene with a doctor holding a snowflake wand beside a giant, glowing snow globe. Inside the globe, a peaceful foetus is curled up, akin to a budding flower on a tree branch, symbolising the clinic's nurturing approach to prenatal care.

Innovations in Pregnancy Care

An evening dedicated to LPC’s commitment towards “Innovative Pregnancy Care”



London Pregnancy Clinic’s recent “Innovative Pregnancy Care” event was a confluence of expertise and insight, shaping the future of prenatal care. Leading professionals gathered to discuss breakthroughs in early diagnostics and patient education, emphasising LPC’s forward-thinking approach.

A December evening at Spitalfields Market was transformed into a hub of medical expertise during the London Pregnancy Clinic’s event. The focus was on pioneering approaches in prenatal care, particularly the 10 Week Scan,  Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), and pre-eclampsia diagnosis.

Advancing the 10 Week Scan

The evening began with Ms. Shaz Khojasteh, LPC’s clinical lead, greeting each attendee with a warmth that matched her expertise. Her introduction was not just an opening speech but a heartfelt welcome to LPC’s family. She shared with the audience our signature 10 Week Scan, which isn’t just a routine check. It’s a comprehensive examination of the baby’s anatomy, providing vital developmental insights at a crucial early stage, thereby enriching the information gathered before conducting NIPT.

Demystifying NIPT – Dr Fred Ushakov’s Perspective

The spotlight then shifted to Dr. Fred Ushakov, whose speech was not only insightful but also visionary. He spoke passionately about his mission, in collaboration with the London School of Ultrasound and UCLH, to train the next generation of doctors and sonographers. His goal is to equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary to leverage early pregnancy scans to their full potential, enhancing patient care and pregnancy outcomes. This mission, he explained, is vital in ensuring that every pregnancy is approached with the utmost care and precision.

Dr Ushakov then addressed a common misunderstanding about NIPT. He emphasised that while NIPT is effective, it’s not all-encompassing. Patients may misinterpret it as a guarantee against all prenatal issues, not realising that conditions more severe than Down’s syndrome can occur and cannot be detected by NIPT. He further highlighted the importance of the dual approach (watch the explainer video here) that he instilled at LPC. Dr. Ushakov’s call for broader education and comprehensive scanning techniques underscored the need for a more informed approach to prenatal care.

Advocacy for Pre-eclampsia Awareness

Next, we were captivated by Dr. Daniel Stott, whose talk about pre-eclampsia was as enlightening as it was heartfelt. It was clear from his words and the energy in his voice just how dedicated he is to this topic. Dr. Stott walked us through the workings of a groundbreaking blood test for pre-eclampsia. With an approachable manner, he explained how this test isn’t just for identifying pre-eclampsia; it’s a crucial tool in carefully guiding expectant mothers through the rest of their pregnancy. 


As the expert talks wrapped up, the event naturally transitioned into festive networking. It was a perfect opportunity for attendees to connect, exchange experiences, and build professional ties in a holiday atmosphere. The evening emerged as a crucible of innovative ideas and shared goals for advancing prenatal care. Leaving the market, we carried with us the night’s insights and a renewed hope for the future of prenatal health. The event proved to be not just a confluence of minds but a beacon of hope for prenatal care’s future.

A special thank you to our sponsors Eurofins.

Latest Stories

Continue reading

Meet The Team

As we are a small, close-knit team you will become accustomed to seeing a few familiar faces whenever you enter the clinic, so here’s a bit more about us.

Dr Ushakov is our Founder and Medical Director. A leading expert in the field, with over 30 years’ experience in Fetal Medicine, working in three different countries. Dr Ushakov is most likely the reason you have booked your appointment with us and his patient, individual approach to each and every scan will provide you with calming reassurance.

Alcinda is our clinical assistant and her kind, calm nature will put you instantly at ease throughout your appointment. Alcinda is also trained in phlebotomy so you may also experience her excellent bedside manner during your NIPT blood test.

If you have an email or telephone enquiry you will most likely speak to our medical secretary, Ella. She is on hand to answer any questions you may have throughout your time with us. You may recognise her from the warm welcome you receive when you first enter the clinic.

How big is the Embryo at 8 weeks?

Most pregnancy apps will make you aware of the size comparison of your baby against a fruit/ vegetable/ animal or even baked goods, but rarely do you see images showing just how your baby would fit into the palm of your hand!

Take a look at this image which shows you the real size of your baby at 8 weeks!

At 8 weeks Dr Ushakov will be able to check for the heartbeat, date the pregnancy, check for single/multiple pregnancies. He will also check the structures of the pregnancy at this stage including the gestational sac, yolk sac and placenta.

During the Viability scan you will find out the estimated due date (Which will give you plenty of time to pack up that hospital bag and plan out your babymoon)!

If you are interested in having the viability scan at City Ultrasound, you can book our scans or give us a call on 02036872939 for more information

Choosing Your Scan

Choosing Your Scan ?

It can feel a difficult decision knowing when to book in for your ultrasound scans, but truth be told there is no right or wrong time. Whether you are seeking general reassurance, a comprehensive check of your baby’s structures or an NIPT we have scans to suit your individual needs. Your baby is developing at such a pace and week by week there is visible growth. We offer scans for each and every stage of your baby’s development so you can feel assured at every step of the way.
For the best diagnostic performance, we have created a comprehensive breakdown of our scanning options and the prime time to have them done:

?6-9 weeks – Viability Scan

?10-16 weeks – Early Fetal Scan

?20-23 weeks – Anomaly Scan

?28- 34 weeks – Baby development Scan

?36-40 weeks – Baby Position Scan

?8-40 weeks – Scan Upon Request

To find out more details regarding the above scans please check out our website which has a breakdown of everything included in each scan.

Fred Ushakov – Teaching

One of Dr Fred Ushakov’s passions is teaching and training other professionals in the field of Fetal Medicine and the applications of ultrasound screening. Prior to the pandemic Fred lectured in countries such as the US, Australia, Italy, Sweden, Peru, Egypt, Romania, Ukraine and China, where the picture below was taken. Fred has also collaborated with GE Healthcare in live masterclass demonstrations in their Brussels HQ.

During the pandemic, Dr Ushakov was one of the pioneers to start broadcasting his lectures online. His lectures are mainly focused around his field of interest of early anomaly detection and the Early Fetal Scan. In the past year alone, over a thousand ultrasound professionals have attended his courses online.

Happy Easter From City Ultrasound!

City Ultrasound London is wishing you a very Happy Easter!

This is a tiny present from us, enjoy this 4D scan image of a fetus at 12w + 3d when it’s 5.4cm long in its little egg- the amniotic sac.

Video Player

8 Week Scan in 3D

3D at 8 weeks?! ???

We always like to test the capabilities of the latest ultrasound tech. This is a real 3D image of an embryo at just 8 weeks when it is typically just 3/4 of an inch long (just short of 2cm – the size of a raspberry.)

By 8 weeks the embryo will already have tiny hands and feet as well as distinguishable fingers and toes. The respiratory system is also starting to develop at this stage and the heart is beating at a rapid rate of 150-170 beats per minute to help facilitate the exponential growth of the embryo early in the pregnancy.

The baby’s structures are too small at 8 weeks to be able to properly examine them using ultrasound. NIPT (Harmony Test) is also not reliable at this stage due to the small fetal fraction in the mother’s blood – you will have to wait until at least 10 weeks.

That’s why at 6-9 weeks we recommend coming in for a Viability Scan:

  •  Confirm the baby’s heartbeat
  •  Date the pregnancy
  •  Check for single/multiple pregnancy
  •  Check main structures of the gestational sac, which include the baby (the embryo), the yolk sac, and the future placenta


Incredible shot of the Cerebellum at just 11 weeks in our recent instagram post!

This fetus is just 4cm long, but our advanced transvaginal probes are able to get this high resolution image of the cerebellum. Latin for ‘little brain’, the cerebellum is an important structure at the back of the human skull. The cerebellum is responsible for coordinating our voluntary movements, as well as motor skills, balance, coordination and posture.

It consists of two major structures namely the Cerebellar cortex and Cerebellar nuclei. Despite only being 10% of the human brain, the ‘little brain’ contains up to 80% of the brain’s neurons, mainly in the cortex. Neurons are important cells in the human body that are the building blocks of the nervous system.

You can see why it is important to check the development of the brain. Dr Fred Ushakov is a specialist in neurosonography and conducts a comprehensive examination of the brain with every scan from 11 weeks until the 3rd trimester.

The Umbilical Cord

The Umbilical Cord is an important structure, it is essentially a tube that connects the baby and the placenta. The tube usually starts developing from 5 weeks of gestation and grows until the beginning of the third trimester at ~28 weeks.

The umbilical cord consists of 3 blood lines; 2 arteries and 1 vein and basically acts as a supply line between the placenta and the baby. You can see why it is an extremely important structure as it delivers nutrients and oxygen to the baby and removes the baby’s “waste” materials.

The cord can grow up to 80cm, but the average is ~55cm, a longer cord can be associated with entanglement and possibly some complications during labour. Some potential complications in the pregnancy are related to the umbilical cord, such as Vasa Previa. The umbilical cord is cut at birth and the residual usually dries and falls off within 2-3 weeks.

In the video attached you can clearly see the umbilical cord attached from the placenta to the baby at just 12 weeks of gestation!

At City Ultrasound, the umbilical cord is just one of the important structures we check at any scan from 12 weeks. On our website, we have in-depth information about our process and types of scans, but if you do have any questions at all, please feel free to get in touch with us!