Quarter of maternity units do not offer ultrasound scans for foetal anomalies

One in four Irish maternity units don't offer pregnant women foetal anomaly scans.

The ultrasounds are considered a routine part of antenatal care in many other countries, according to UCC researchers.

Today's Irish Independent quotes their research paper which claims that just seven out of 19 obstetric units now offer the scans to all women.

The tests to discover whether babies have life-threatening defects have been recommended by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists since the year 2000.

The report said: "If a foetal anomaly is detected, planned delivery of the infant at the right time and in the correct place can be facilitated... which may ultimately reduce neonatal morbidity and mortality.

"Diagnosis can also provide adequate time to psychologically prepare parents for the challenges of the pregnancy."

The authors highlighted the fact that maternity ultrasound services have not been expanded for a decade.

They said: "If we are serious about equity of care and access to specialist services for all Irish women, regardless of geographical location or financial means, there must now be substantial investment by healthcare policymakers."

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