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When are Ultrasound scans used?
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PIN not verified, please try again. The 2d element of this scan is the full wellbeing check of your baby. We highly recommend making your booking for when you are between weeks pregnant as the pictures are usually the best at this stage. Make sure that you drink plenty of fluids in the week leading up to your scan.
This may help increase the amniotic fluid around the baby allowing for better pictures. Feel free to empty your bladder before the scan. You can also have something sweet to eat or drink just before your scan to get the little one moving. You will be asked to lie down on the ultrasound examination couch.
Someone who goes down the public care route gets all antenatal care, all care during labour and childbirth and all postnatal care at no cost. All hospital accommodation costs — in a public ward — are covered. Expectant mothers are not guaranteed to see the same doctor or midwife at each visit to a public antenatal clinic. During labour and birth, midwives do the work and doctors may not be present at all. There are also the Domino Midwives Schemes, which are available in certain hospitals in the State.
Again, they are designed for women at low risk of complications. Many of the appointments takes place in the home, and as part of the programme, mothers are entitled to an early hospital discharge and home visits from a midwife for up to a week after a baby is born. The Domino service is offered at the three Dublin maternity hospitals as well as Waterford maternity hospital, Wexford hospital and Cork University Maternity Hospital.
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Then there is the semi-private option. Depending on the hospital, that could mean a woman sees the same consultant privately before the birth and then whatever obstetrician is on call for the actual birth.
Alternatively, it could mean a mother attends a clinic run by a consultant and senior members of their team. Once the baby is born, mothers stay in semi-private wards if available. That could mean a room with up to five others. After the birth, mothers tend to stay in a private room if available. When it comes to health insurance, the financial benefits are limited. Policies might cover private rooms for a spell, but typically, at the level outlined by Niamh, the policy will not offset any of the private or semi-private consultant costs.
So, what is the answer? Well, it really depends on the nature of the pregnancy, what people can afford and what they consider important. Continuity of care, extra scans, less waiting ahead of appointments and the allure of the private room are what draw a lot of women to the private system.
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There is, however, never a guarantee the consultant you have paid through the nose for will be present at the birth, and waiting times for private consultants can be as long or short as in the public system, depending on how lucky a mother gets on any single day. As for private rooms, they are never guaranteed — no matter which route a mother takes, that depends on availability. While we would be reluctant to point Niamh in one direction or another, we think she might be well advised to trust her own instincts, particularly if the pregnancy proceeds in an uncomplicated fashion.