Boy or girl?

Having a child is a miracle of nature, and the news that you are expecting has probably made you feel the luckiest woman on earth. At this stage, you are basically bursting with joy, but later on you will be definitely overwhelmed with myriads of thoughts and questions focusing on your pregnancy and your future baby. One of these very first questions keeps coming back to you: Will I have a boy or a girl?
Until the first use of ultrasound in obstetrics, in the early 1960s, pregnant women called on different myths, beliefs and hypotheses to find out the gender of their future babies.

1.Cardiac Rhythm
One such belief involved the baby’s heart rhythm: so, if the baby’s heart beats faster than 140 beats per minute, it’s a girl and if the baby’s heartbeat is less than 140 beats per minute, it’s a boy.
Although there have been made several attempts to make a connection between the hearth rhythm and the gender of the future baby, only one scientific study managed to support this theory. This study has been conducted in 1993 at the University of Kentucky and has led to the following conclusions: the baby’s heart rhythm can accurately predict the gender for 91% of the male fetuses and 74% of the female fetuses.
At the same time, two other scientific studies invalidate this connection: one study has been conducted in the ‘80s by a sonographer who measured over 10.000 heartbeats; the other study has been completed recently, being published in 2006 in the first journal designed to focus on the baby as a patient “Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy”.

2.Morning Sickness
What pregnant woman hasn’t heard the line: “if you have morning sickness all day, it’s definitely a girl”. This myth has been actually studied by the Swedish scientists and the conclusions have not been however relevant. It has been found that 56% of women with a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum gave birth to girls. Therefore, if you’re experiencing severe morning sickness, you may think that there are at least 50% chances to have a girl.

3.Your baby’s activity
Another theory states that an intense activity of your baby could indicate that it may be a boy. However, this is not a valid theory because if the mother is more active, her baby might be active too.

4.The Chinese Gender Chart
In the 13th century, a scientist released a theory according to which the gender of the child may be predicted by making a connection between the mother’s Chinese lunar age at the time of getting pregnant and the Chinese lunar month in which the woman has conceived. Although the Chinese Gender Chart has a good reputation in China, as a reliable gender predictor, the tests conducted on other continents showed no relevant and accurate results.

Although there are plenty of theories, myths and beliefs on finding the baby’s gender, we will stop here.
As a matter of fact, we cannot state for sure whether any of the aforementioned methods is accurate or not, but we definitely know that ultrasonography is absolutely trustworthy. Therefore, we are waiting for you to come to our clinic in central London to put an end to this mystery and to be able to buy the appropriate clothes for your baby!

We recommend…music

Studies have shown that music has plenty of benefits: it heals, stimulates, relaxes and develops the mathematical thinking and perspicacity especially in children with ages between 1 to 10 years. However, its effects also extend upon babies.
The latest study developed and published by the Descartes University has proven that the babies can relax or even cheer up when listening to a known song. Fifty pregnant women were included in the study led by Psychobiologist Carolyn Granier-Deferre of the Paris Descartes University, and were asked to listen to a descending piano melody twice a day for a period of three weeks before birth. After one month from the birth, the same babies were tested for responses to the same melody. The scientists noted that the babies’ heart rates slowed down considerably and their muscles relaxed.
Another effect of music on babies is the Mozart effect. The French physicist, Alfred Tomatis, proved that the prenatal exposure to Mozart music increases concentration, creativity and memory of the future child.
Classical and instrumental music may bring more benefits than modern music, according to experts.
We highly recommend:
The piano concerto no. 5 in E-flat major, by Beethoven;
“Ode to Joy” by Beethoven;
“Brandenburg Concerti” by Bach;
“Pilgrim’s Chorus” by Wagner;
“Bolero” by Ravel;
Sonata for flute and harp, by Chopin;
“Clair de Lune” by Debussy;
Nocturnes, by Chopin;
“The Sleeping Beauty” Overture, by Tchaikovsky;
“Ave Maria” by Schubert;
“The Swan Lake” Overture by Tchaikovsky;
 “Don Juan” by Mozart;
“The Pastoral” by Beethoven;
“Aida” by Verdi.

The third week

Although you’ve entered the third week of pregnancy and by now you’ve experienced an amalgam of new sensations (tiredness, mood swifts, breast aching, sudden urges to pee every 10 minutes), you may probably have no idea that you’re pregnant. So, now is the right time to visit your gynaecologist. Once with the positive results and especially if this is your first pregnancy, we’re pretty sure that the news overwhelmed you, but whether you are ecstatic or shocked and overwhelmed and your head is probably spinning with a million questions, take a deep breath and think of what you should do next: look for an obstetrician whom you’ll be meeting regularly during the following nine months.
It is the obstetrician who will closely supervise the proper development of your unborn baby, by recommending different types of baby scans, further investigations, vitamins and/or dietary supplements. At the same time, your Ob will monitor your weight as well as any present of future health condition(s) that might affect the health of your baby.
A lot of miraculous things have been going on inside you and although you cannot actually see, your body is now experiencing a series of rapid changes. After the momentous meeting of the egg and sperm, the fertilized egg starts its miraculous adventure: even though it’s very small, about the size of the head of a pin, your embryo, which is just a group of hundreds of cells multiplying and growing madly, is really there! It may be hard to believe, but during this third week of pregnancy, your soon-to-be baby’s brain, heart and even spine column are beginning to develop. But the magic of nature doesn’t stop here: the baby’s heart begin to beat in spite of the extremely small sizes of your baby: 1,5 and 2,5mm.
Now that you’ve found out what is happening with your soon-to-be baby, it’s time to learn something about the changes you may notice to your body. Some women may actually lose weight during this period, especially due to the potential morning sickness and loss of appetite caused by hormonal changes. Some women may also experience twinges and/or small amount of bleeding, especially during the night, as the future baby implants in the cushy uterine lining. So, there’s nothing to worry about! At this point, your scale may show the smallest value of your weight while being pregnant. By the time you come to give birth, the average weight gain may vary between 10 to 16 kg (22 to 35 lbs) out of which 3-3,5kg (6,6 to 7,7lbs) represents your future baby’s weight and about 3 kg (6,6lbs) represents the maternal fat deposits which will help you during the nursing period. However, the amount of weight gained during pregnancy may be higher if you’re carrying twins or triplets. Anyway, keep in mind that every woman is unique so these values may vary depending on a number of factors such as height, body type, pre-pregnancy weight, etc.

The history of baby ultrasound scanning

Ultrasounds date back to the 1800s when physicists worked on finalising the fundamentals of sound vibrations.
Subsequent to numerous years of researches and permanent improvements, the underwater SONAR (Sound Navigation and Ranging), the RADAR and the ultrasonic Metal Flaw Detector have been designed. These devices are actually the precursors of the medical ultrasound equipments we use today and which are based on the same operating concepts, except that their design and range of use are more elaborate and more sophisticated.
There is however a question: What is ultrasound? Well, we may define the ultrasounds as the sound waves with a very high frequency, above the audible frequency range and which cannot be perceived by the human ear. In fact, these are the counterparts of UVs in the visual field.
If you wonder if ultrasounds can be perceived by your future baby’s ear, the answer would be that this is highly unlikely. Though it is made through the ear, the perception of these waves will be filtered also by the foetus’ brain, whose development does not end during pregnancy, but continues after birth. Therefore, the chances that the baby can perceive ultrasounds are almost nonexistent.
Ultrasounds have been used in medicine since the 1940s, initially for therapeutic purposes and later on for diagnostic purposes.
In obstetrics, their use began to show effective results in the 1960s. Professor Ian Donald, who led a well-known medical centre in Glasgow, pioneered the early developments in obstetric ultrasounds. In July 1955, he borrowed an industrial machine with which he started experimenting on his patients’ abdominal tumours. He discovered that different tissues reacted differently to ultrasounds, providing different “answers”. So Ian Donald concluded that the development of a future baby can be monitored by means of ultrasounds and that this would be simply an innovative method. The new technology has been accepted quite easily and has been used in clinical obstetrics since the early 1960s. The first accurate detection of foetal cardiac action, using ultrasounds, has been reported and documented in 1972. In the late 1970s, ultrasound use became an almost essential part of the care rendered to pregnant women and their foetuses, because various measurements and early diagnoses of foetal abnormalities have been launched during this period. The long series of developments in this field continued during the next decade, from 1980 to 1990.
Here are several of the most important developments in this area:
– the gel that is applied to the pregnant woman’s belly and allows better conveyance of the ultrasonic signal;
– the transvaginal or transrectal scanner;
– the first real-time mechanical vaginal scanner;
– the real-time colour imaging that allows tracking the blood flow;
– a modern ultrasound scanner that looks like a portable console with four wheels, with a monitor and several types of scanners;
– a major improvement in the quality of images offered;
– the 3D ultrasound machine.
With the amazing progress of science in the last 10 years, devices have been improved, and the quantity and quality of the information provided is highly superior. Today we are also able to provide 4D baby scans, which enable the real-time viewing of the baby and its movements, offering thus an extraordinary experience to parents-to-be.

Benefits of NT baby scan

Whereas our previous article attempted to summarize the most important things you should know about the NT baby scan, now we would like to emphasize the benefits of this type of baby scan.
The uppermost benefit of the NT baby scan is that it identifies pregnancies with higher risk of congenital and chromosomal abnormalities, for example, it gives precious info about the likelihood of a baby having Down’s syndrome.
Another major benefit is the fact that this nuchal translucency scan is a safe, non-invasive and relatively simple ultrasound of the pregnant woman’s uterus. It’s essential that these non-invasive and absolutely painless tests be performed before asking for more conclusive tests which are actually invasive and carry the risk of miscarriage.
However, you should be aware of the fact that this type of baby scan does not actually diagnose a problem; it only signals that further testing should be performed. Therefore, the NT measurements are not conclusive and the NT screening test alone cannot accurately diagnose a congenital disorder, but, if combined with other relevant data, it provides a statistic about the likelihood of such disorders.
Sometimes, these false-positive results, which are quite common, may be the reasons for anxiety felt by the mums-to-be who may now consider having further conclusive tests.
Like other early-pregnancy scans, the NT baby scan also provides a valuable health report of your baby (the NT scan shows the baby in remarkable detail), confirms the estimated due date and gives you the possibility to have several memorable photos of your baby.
Therefore, you are welcomed to come to our newly refurbished clinic in central London where our friendly and highly qualified team is ready to guide you throughout your pregnancy journey.
For more information about the NT baby scan, click here.

NT baby scan

The nuchal translucency baby scan is perhaps one of the most important pregnancy scans because it helps identifying the potential risks during pregnancy. This type of baby scan measures nuchal translucency which is defined as the maximum thickness of the subcutaneous fluid filled area normally formed at the back of the baby’s neck between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. Nuchal translucency or nuchal fold usually varies from 0.5mm to 2 mm.
Nuchal translucency baby scan is best carried out between weeks 11 and 13 of pregnancy because after this period, the liquid is absorbed into the developing lymphatic system and therefore the test becomes irrelevant.
Nuchal translucency scan uses ultrasounds to check the baby’s cervix area because, in some babies with abnormalities, such as Down’s syndrome, and also in some normal babies, this area tends to accumulate more fluid than it normally does. The back of the baby’s neck may appear thickened and enlarged, but however it does not confirm for certain a diagnosis. In this case, further analyses are recommended, one of the most important being amniocentesis, which is the safest invasive method.
The values measured by this baby scan are then correlated with certain statistical indices. This nuchal region thickens day after day and this fact led to numerous studies that have determined its thickness for every day of the period elapsed between 11 to 13 weeks of pregnancy. The resulting values are correlated also with other ultrasound indices and personal factors such as the mother’s age and chromosomal diseases in the family. The older is the mom-to-be, the higher is the risk of abnormalities that may occur.
Therefore, the nuchal translucency screening test offers a statistical result, taking into account several factors, among which three are extremely important:
– the pregnant woman’s age
– the pregnancy’s age
– the nuchal translucency
The possibility of having a child with Down syndrome increases with the age of the pregnant woman. If the risk is 1 in 270 for a pregnant woman aged 25, for a pregnant woman aged 40 the risk is 1 in 100.
However, Down syndrome is not the only concern after getting a modified value of the nuchal translucency. Major congenital heart problems can also be detected by this screening test. In this case, the pregnant woman and the future baby will be monitored throughout the pregnancy and birth and will also require specialised care after birth. Some congenital heart problems can be surgically corrected immediately after birth or after a period of several weeks or months after the birth.
Just like any other baby scan we provide in our central London clinic, this baby scan is painless and involves no risks to you or your baby.
We encourage you to be responsible for yours and your baby’s future and make an appointment as soon as possible for a NT baby scan.

First ultrasound

Completely painless, with no known side effects, pregnancy ultrasounds are the simplest and at the same time, the most important non-invasive investigations to carry out at any stage of pregnancy. The lack of documented side effects of ultrasounds on mothers or babies is also substantiated by numerous scientific studies conducted along the years.

The essential data on the health of your unborn baby as well as the incredible intimate bonding experience you’ll cherish forever are just several benefits of ultrasounds. The expectant parents have now the chance to first see and bond with the future baby enjoying thus everlasting magic moments.

Whereas it’s much easier for the mother because she carries the baby who is constantly growing and changing in her womb, the presence of the father, while taking the first ultrasound, is advisable not only because of the beneficial effect on the mother but also for his involvement to this special bonding experience.

Our early pregnancy scan confirms or invalidates the result of a pregnancy test, evaluates the baby’s health, gives an estimate of the due date, assesses single or multiple pregnancies and provides a 2x2D thermal image of the baby. To find out more about what you should do before coming to our clinic from central London to have an early pregnancy scan, please click here.

For optimum results, this first ultrasound is best if taken between weeks 6 and 11, being thus your first step to a healthy pregnancy. However, the ultrasounds performed during the first trimester of pregnancy provide incomplete information and this is why we recommend you to take at least one ultrasound scan during every pregnancy stages.

We will come back with more valuable information on other types of scans!

Top reasons to have a baby scan

Baby scans are the main and most important medical investigations during pregnancy because they give precious information about the evolution and health condition of both the mother and the unborn child. Our clinic provides different types of baby scans for every pregnancy stage.

If you’re choosing to have a pregnancy scan, you will learn valuable information, such as:
– the number of weeks elapsed from the date of conception and thus, the confirmation of your expected due date;
– the probability of a premature birth;
– the type of your pregnancy (single, twin pregnancy etc.);
– the rate of growth and the development of your baby ;
– the baby’s gender. However, it’s up to you whether you want to have this information revealed;
– the baby’s movements and most importantly, the baby’s heartbeat;
– different measurements intended to constantly check the baby’s health condition;
– the position and proper development of placenta;
– possible variations, abnormalities or risks of your pregnancy;

There’s nothing more exciting and touching than seeing your baby for the first time! This is a magical moment you should share with your loved ones. Therefore, after having your baby scan, we provide you a CD-ROM or an USB memory stick with 2D, 3D and even 3D images you can cherish forever. Our 4D premium package gives you the opportunity to actually see the first movements and reactions of your baby, in real time. It also includes the capture of amazing images of your baby blinking, waving and smiling, providing thus an unforgettable bonding experience. For optimum results, this type of baby scan is best if taken between weeks 24 and 32 of your pregnancy.

Due to the state-of-art technology, based on ultrasounds, the baby scans are completely painless and have no known side effects on your body or on your child.

The second week

During the second week of pregnancy, you should realise that something is different about you. Don’t panic! This is one of the effects of pregnancy: high hormone levels. If you feel tired, distraught and experience frequent mood changes, we recommend you to take a pregnancy test or to see a physician. The first hormone your body begins to produce in substantial amounts is called HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin).

Although your future baby has no body parts formed or even shaped yet, it starts undergoing a miraculous development process. During the second week of pregnancy, the blastocyst which is actually a development stage that precedes the embryo, has already taken shape. Now the blastocyst starts to separate into the amniotic cavity and the embryo or the future baby. The amniotic cavity ensures the baby’s protection and feeding until the placenta is formed. Although the placenta begins to develop during the second pregnancy week, its development will usually end during the 8th week. The umbilical cord starts to partially exert its functions.

Starting with the 6th week of pregnancy, you may to ask about the types of baby scan that you can do to check on your future baby’ health state. Our clinic in central London offers all kinds of baby scans; all you have to do is contact us by phone or e-mail to make a timely appointment.
There are some women who simply feel or observe their body better, realizing thus that they are pregnant. If you do not feel all the signs during the first two weeks, don’t worry because you will definitely feel them during the coming weeks. It is important that you do not to neglect yourself because you are now responsible for another being. Rest, exercise and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are elements that must be present in your daily life because they are essential vectors for the harmonious development of your child and for your health condition and comfort.

Your body is now preparing for the 9 months of pregnancy during which it will have to provide everything needed for the embryo to develop. It is also better to avoid meat more difficult to digest such as game, lamb, fat pork or canned meat. Fish is highly recommended for pregnant women because of its high iodine content. It is also better to avoid excess coffee as it is harmful to the nervous system. Alcoholic drinks are extremely noxious for tissues and therefore, their consumption should be immediately stopped due to their toxic action on the pregnancy. Also, we recommend you give up smoking. It may be difficult, but you certainly want a healthy baby.

As soon as you think you are pregnant, contact your physician to discuss everything that can or may affect your health, and implicitly your baby’s health.

Easy pregnancy and we will get back to you with more details about the development of the pregnancy in the 3rd week!

Music therapy for dynamic and perceptive babies

Music is one of our best friends, we always know it will be there whenever we’re feeling blue and need a shoulder to cry on or we are bursting with joy.  As Plato said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

Each of us has found at least one song which completely identifies us and which conveys in words or notes our deepest feeling and emotions: (“Music . . . can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” ― Leonard Bernstein).

Therefore, we strongly recommend the music therapy during your pregnancy. It has been proven that the mothers-to-be who listen to music are less likely to feel the less pleasant moments of pregnancy. Music therapy is also a helpful factor when giving birth and having a more perceptive baby.

Music therapy is a branch of psychotherapy which uses music as a means of communication. Music has been used even since ancient times for curing different diseases and, to that effect, the history acknowledges that Plato was one of the first promoters who discovered and promoted the music therapy. Starting with the 19th century, the music therapy has been used for treating different mental and emotional disorders, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, pregnancy discomfort, etc.

Music therapy may take two forms: an active form, which involves playing a music instrument, and a passive one, which involves listening to music.  Studies have reported that the persons who listen to Mozart, Bach, Beethoven or Chopin are far less stressed, depressed, nervous or anxious.

Music can also help you through the bio-resonance induced by the vibrations of sounds produced by the classic and instrumental music. It can rebalance your energy fields, it can wipe away your stress and tiredness and can significantly change the capacity of your baby to assimilate food through the umbilical cord

In our next articles, you’ll find out several tips for efficient music listening sessions and best playlist suggestions for your pregnancy term.