On the 22nd June 2017, Dr Allan Johnston and colleagues from the thisismy:Sports Medicine team visited the home of the Premier League Champions, Chelsea FC, to support a ground-breaking new Sports Medicine conference.
Dr Johnston, a Sports Psychiatry Doctor based at thisismy:Sports Medicine clinic in Leeds, was chair of this exciting event featuring speakers from across UK Sports Medicine. Delegates attending enjoyed talks on a range of topics including A Psychiatrist working in Sport (Professor Steve Peters), Duty of Care (Dr Rod Jaques), Overtraining Syndrome (Professor John Rogers) and our own Dr Johnston on Prehabilitation and Resilience.
Dr Johnston’s talk drew on his years of experience in Sports Psychiatry to discuss wellbeing and performance strategies employed at the thisismy:Sports Medicine clinic in Leeds to help athletes and non-athletes alike with issues of self-confidence, motivation, positivity and developing mental resilience in advance of future stress.
Our thanks to The Education & Training Network, a Leeds based medical education provider for hosting the event and inviting our support. We look forward to this becoming an annual fixture in the Sports Medicine calendar.
Despite Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) having matured over the last few years, not everyone is aware that NIPT is available to every pregnant woman in London too.
At this is my:baby we have now 2 London sites offering more choice of appointment times in 2 great central locations, the prestigious Harley Street and for those in the East of London, Canary Wharf.
A further 5 centres within the UK and a large number of years’ experience in bringing NIPT to the UK market makes this is my: baby the clear choice, and we offer a standard and competitively priced UK tariff throughout our centres including London. We want to ensure NIPT is made available to as many pregnant women as possible.
With this relatively new advanced test growing in popularity, but sometimes not talked about openly, this article will try and help present answers to all the important questions you may have before deciding which test is best for you and your growing baby.
And… should you have any questions we have a trained team of NIPT advisors happy to be called to answer any question you have.
In simple terms, what is NIPT?
Non-invasive Prenatal Testing is a simple screening test to assess the risk of your unborn baby be affected by Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s syndrome from as early as 9 weeks. It involves an ultrasound scan and simple blood test taken from the mother’s arm, just like the standard NHS combined test – but it’s much more accurate than NHS combined screening.
The test usually takes only no more than 30 mins to complete, which means you can fit an appointment within a typical lunch hour, should this be convenient for you.
Is NIPT safe for both me and baby?
NIPT is 100% safe for you both, because it is non-invasive, unlike amniocentesis or Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) which involve introducing a needle into the uterus or womb to obtain pregnancy DNA.
NIPT is still over 99% accurate but involves only a routine ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy and then a small sample of blood is taken from the mother’s arm where pregnancy DNA (cfDNA) is circulating.
If you are over 11 weeks gestation in your pregnancy we also check at the ultrasound that baby is growing and developing normally, looking at many structures including the nuchal measurement and nose bone.
This scan can help provide early reassurance that all looks well structurally and potentially chromosomally low risk whilst you wait for the NIPT result. NIPT is far more accurate than ultrasound alone for assessing the risk of a chromosomal abnormality.
Can I take NIPT with IVF?
Yes. IVF pregnancies can be covered using NIPT screening, including donor egg and surrogate pregnancies
Can I have NIPT if I am expecting twins?
Yes. Twin pregnancies can be covered using NIPT screening, including those conceived with IVF. We cannot however do triplets or more!
What kind of results can I expect?
Whatever your results; we are here to support you throughout your NIPT screen.
NIPT results are categorised into the following 3 outcomes:
• Positive / High-Risk / Aneuploidy Detected: this result is indicative of a very high chance of your pregnancy being affected with a chromosomal condition.
• Negative / Low Risk / No Aneuploidy Detected: this means that your pregnancy is very unlikely to be affected with a chromosomal condition.
• Inconclusive / No Result / Aneuploidy Suspected: The result is inconclusive or not obtainable from the sample of blood drawn.
In the unlikely case of you receiving a ‘high-risk’ result, we will strongly advise further counselling with the option of an Amniocentesis or CVS to confirm a result.
In the unlikely case of a ‘no result’, due to a low amount of circulating cfDNA then a free of charge 2nd sample will be offered. As the pregnancy advances the cfDNA increases with gestational age so if a result is not delivered from the first sample, there is much more cfDNA in a second later sample.
When can I expect my results?
We understand that waiting for your results can be a very anxious time for you.
To speed things up, at this is my:baby, you can expect to hear your results from as quickly as 5 working days from the date your blood sample is received at the NIPT lab.
Our team will call you as soon as the results are issued from the laboratory. We will then send a detailed report of results in the post.
Do you offer weekend appointments?
All our screening centres offer weekend and evening appointments so appointment times are more accessible to working clients.
Is there a surcharge for weekend appointments?
No. We believe all our prices should be nationally standardised throughout our centres, which includes central London. Our aim is to help women have choices not only in the testing but also accessibility. Our prices remain constant with no surcharges or penalties for location.
I’ve read the above, but I still wish to speak to an advisor on NIPT in London… what should I do next?
Most likely your first scan on the NHS will be at 12 weeks as part of the screening programme for Down’s syndrome (sometimes referred to as the NT scan).
On the NHS, this screening test is called the ‘combined-screening’ test and consists of an ultrasound scan to measure Nuchal Translucency (NT), a packet of fluid at the back of the baby’s neck, combined with a blood test looking at pregnancy hormones using a sample of blood taken from the arm.
Taken together, these measurements mean that a computer programme can calculate a risk of your baby being affected with Down’s Syndrome and 2 other chromosomal conditions (Edwards and Patau’s syndrome).
However, for at least three reasons, NIPT is considered a better test than the combined screening test.
Accuracy: NIPT compared to the Combined-Screening Test
‘NIPT is more accurate than the combined or quadruple test for estimating the risk of Down’s syndrome’- NHS (rapid.nhs.uk)
NIPT (or Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing) is currently the simplest, most accurate and risk-free screening test you can have and from as early as 9 weeks’ in pregnancy. It still calculates the risk of the pregnancy being affected by a trisomy condition such as Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s Syndrome but it will detect 99.9% of Down’s affected pregnancies.
To compare, the combined screening test has a detection rate of 75 – 90% depending on the hospital you are screened in (ask your local screening coordinator for their current hospital figures).
The Non-invasive Screening is currently offered mainly privately within the UK with only a few NHS centres offering as research or to high-risk pregnancies only. It is currently not a standard screening test yet but the NHS is reviewing its implementation.
You can opt for NIPT screening with this is my: baby without the need for a referral from your GP, midwife or healthcare team.
RISK: NIPT compared to the Combined-Screening Test
One of the biggest drawbacks of the combined screening test on the NHS is the considerably higher “false positive” and “false negative” rates when compared to the results of an NIPT test. This means there is a higher chance of you receiving an erroneous result.
The false positive rate is where a healthy baby is wrongly identified as having a chromosomal abnormality i.e. wrongly identified as having Downs’, Edwards’ or Patau’s.
The false negative rate is the chance of a negative test result being given when in fact the condition being looked for is present; e.g. there was a low-risk score given for Down’s Syndrome, when in fact the baby has Down’s syndrome.
Universities Carry Out Large Study on 15,000 women
In one breakthrough study comparing the accuracy and efficacy of NIPT vs “standard screening” in 15,000 pregnancies; an NIPT test identified all 38 babies with Down’s Syndrome correctly (100% detection rate), whereas the standard screening test only identified 30 of 38 babies (78.9%) affected.
This means that 8 babies who did have Down’s syndrome were incorrectly reported as not having the condition by the standard screening test used by the NHS – so-called “false negatives”.
In the same research study, it was found that an NIPT test was wrongly positive in only 9 pregnancies that did not have Down’s Syndrome. Based on these 15,000 results, NIPT has a false positive rate of just 0.06% (a lot less than 1%).
The standard screening test, on the other hand, was positive in an alarming 854 pregnancies that did not have Down’s Syndrome. This equates to a false positive rate of 5.7% of pregnancies.
This means 854 (5.7%) parents would have been recommended to proceed with unnecessary invasive tests such as Amniocentesis or CVS, despite the baby not having Down’s Syndrome.
Why Are Women Hesitant to Take Invasive Tests?
With 1 to 2% chance of a miscarriage occurring during invasive tests such as Amniocentesis or CVS (chorionic villus sampling), it’s no wonder many new mums-to-be (and experienced mothers) are hesitant to proceed with an invasive diagnostic test and the experience of having to undergo a potentially painful procedure with a needle being introduced into the womb where their precious baby is growing.
It is for this reason that many women opt to have NIPT as a first choice of screening or when they have been given a high-risk result prior to proceeding with an invasive diagnostic test– NIPT is a superior choice to combined screening.
It is a non-invasive test (a simple blood test) where there is no risk of miscarriage and no harm to your baby.
SPEED: NIPT compared to the Combined-Screening Test
The combined screening test is an ultrasound scan combined with a blood sample and the results can take 3 – 14 days to come back to you.
Can’t wait 2 weeks for your results? With the advancements in NIPT screening in recent years, you can now expect results in as early as 5 working days from the date of your test.
Want to discuss NIPT, is it the test for you?
If you are considering taking NIPT for more clear and quicker answers, and would like more information on NIPT options available to you; our NIPT advisors would love to hear from you.
This is my: is delighted to announce the opening of a prestigious new centre in the heart of Canary Wharf, London on 20th April 2017. The centre boasts the same exceptional service and outstanding level of care as our Harley Street and other nationwide centres, but now enabling more convenient access for people in Canary Wharf.
“We want to extend the highest standards of care available to our customers in our existing centres, to more sites to ensure convenience and quality for all. We intend to expand the services available at each site in due course as well, with the aim to make affordable, accessible healthcare available conveniently to all,” said Jonathan Day, Chief Executive Officer of Optivi, this is my:’s parent company.
The new centre will offer private, private insurance and NHS referred clients the following services through the week and weekends:
This is my:baby (all services excluding Consultant Care)
This is my:body (all services excluding MSK)
This is my:DNA (all services)
Alongside centres in Halifax, Hull, Leeds, Manchester and London (Harley Street); Canary Wharf is the private medical provider’s 6th centre to offer private ultrasound and genetic screening in the UK – with “more centres currently in the conclusive stages”, says Judith Pilling, Managing Director of this is my: Health Screening & Ultrasound Centres.
This is my: Canary Wharf centre is located at the following address.
This is my: London Canary Wharf Screening Centre
Lower Ground Floor
38 West Quay Walk
Headquartered in Leeds, UK, this is my: Health Screening & Ultrasound Centres are one of the UK’s leading private medical providers offering a range of diagnostic and ultrasound screening services for individuals and healthcare companies.
Sometimes it’s smooth – other times it’s filled with anxiety and doubt – and that’s one of the bigger reasons why mothers-to-be, like you, choose to book pregnancy scans (including the 4D scan) to see how your little one is doing.
While you are pregnant, you’ll often forget that there’s a whole world of wonder and beauty beneath your skin – and it’s having the time of its life!
While you endure the strains and stresses of a changing body – your baby can be curling, kicking, crying, and even smiling as you continue to progress through your pregnancy.
Did you know: Herbs such as garlic and ginger can alter the taste of your amniotic fluid (the liquid surrounding your baby)?
Well, here are 5 captivating ways your baby’s senses are developing as it grows in your womb.
Our favourite is number 5!
What flavour is your Amniotic fluid?
Not quite to the palate of true food connoisseurs – your baby can detect flavour and quite possibly the Nando’s Trio Burger you had yesterday evening.
In evolutionary terms, babies become accustomed to the flavours of food he/she is likely to eat.
Research to support this remarkable find comes from a study named ‘Prenatal and Postnatal Flavour Learning by Human Infants’ featured in the Journal of Paediatrics. 
The study found that infants who had been exposed to the flavour of carrots via the amniotic fluid, exhibited less negative facial expressions during their time in the womb, and preferred to consume carrot-flavoured food after birth, compared to babies’ who were not exposed to carrots.
Food for thought: Based on your last few meals – what flavours has your baby been exposed to?
4D scan shows your baby crying
Recognised as being the fifth and most recently observed behavioural state of a baby in the womb – is the baby’s ‘cry’.
It accompanies four other behavioural states being; 1F (quiet sleep), 2F (active state), 3F (quiet awake) and 4F (active awake) known previously in the medical world.
Although potentially upsetting for parents, it is considered normal for babies to cry when disconcerted by low-decibel noise in their surroundings.
With safety in mind, researchers had used an artificial larynx that emits a very low 100hz and 95Db tone to slightly distress the baby – and found ‘crying’ to be exhibited.
The baby began to initiate exhalation movement, along with the combination of an open mouth and depressed tongue.
A series of augmented breaths followed with short significant breaks in breath to depict ‘crying’. 
Here is a video of the ultrasound imaging scan of the baby “crying” in the womb.
Source: Youtube / Missfarah83 
4D scan reveals your baby’s stress signs
What may surprise you is that your baby could be showing signs of stress – when you are.
Research by Durham and Lancaster Universities found babies to touch their faces with their left hand in correlation to the mother displaying signs of maternal stress and frustration, despite most babies being destined to be right-handed.
The findings highlight the significance of mothers needing to relax as often as they can during pregnancy – as failing to can cause unnecessary stress on your baby. 
4D scan shows your baby recognising rhymes
From ‘hickory dickory dock’ to ‘Humpty Dumpty’, your baby can recognise nursery rhymes vividly according to one renowned research study conducted at the University of Florida.
Researchers proposed a test where pregnant women were asked to voice a nursery rhyme, repeating twice to their bellies, for several weeks.
What may come as a surprise to you – babies’ heartbeats slowed down significantly when the rhyme was repeatedly rehearsed and continued to lower when a stranger did the same. 
4D scan shows your baby practising expressions
It’s not just kicking, rolling, and tumbling; your baby has all the time in the world to practise facial expressions.
To study the dynamics of babies’ facial movements, inquisitive researchers at Durham and Lancaster Universities used 4D scans to observe 15 babies between 24 and 36 weeks in gestation.
They found babies develop ‘multi-dimensional’ facial expressions recognised as pain, through the movements of eyebrows, nose and mouth at week 36.
However, babies – yours too! – can develop simple, one-dimensional movements in the form of expressive smiles much earlier, from 24 weeks. 
This is precisely the reason we recommend you take a 4D scan towards week-24 into your pregnancy – and not before.
Want to see what kind of facial expressions your baby exhibits?
With a 4D scan at this is my: baby, you certainly can.
Heartburn, a disorder that involves a burning feeling in the chest, is often developed during pregnancy. Up to 50 percent of women experience heartburn at some point during their pregnancy. Although it can happen at any point during pregnancy, heartburn tends to occur more frequently in the third trimester.
There are a number of reasons why heartburn is more common during pregnancy – these include:
The hormone progesterone is secreted in higher amounts to support the pregnancy. Progesterone causes the valve that separates the food pipe from the stomach to relax, causing heartburn.
The growing uterus starts to put pressure on the stomach and other internal organs in later pregnancy. That pressure from growth can also push food and stomach acid back into the food pipe causing heartburn.
During pregnancy the lower oesophageal sphincter(ring of muscle) that acts like a gate between your stomach and your oesophagus relaxes, allowing stomach acid to leak back up.
Women are also more likely to be affected with heartburn if they have suffered with it before pregnancy or have been pregnant before.
How to prevent heartburn?
Changes to diet and lifestyle may be enough to control heartburn and indigestion, particularly if the symptoms are mild. Certain foods or beverages tend to trigger the symptoms. Avoiding those foods can help to prevent the discomfort associated with heartburn. Foods that tend to trigger heartburn are:
Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, and pineapple
Carbonated drinks, or sodas
Fatty and greasy foods
Other top tips to prevent heartburn include:
As well as avoiding these foods, it can be helpful to eat smaller meals more often. Instead of three big meals per day, five or six smaller meals may be better.
Staying upright for at least 20 to 30 minutes after eating can prevent the stomach contents from backing up into the food pipe.
At night, it is better not to eat within 3 hours of going to bed. Propping up the head of the bed or using extra pillows to keep the head elevated can help prevent heartburn that occurs at night.
It is also important to avoid smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. Neither is healthy during pregnancy, and they can both contribute to heartburn.
Drinking a glass of milk can help to reduce symptoms. Low-fat or non-fat milk is better because whole milk is rich in fat, and this can worsen heartburn.
When should I see a doctor?
If you have severe heartburn, or if changes to your diet and lifestyle don’t work, there are various over the counter medications available from your local pharmacy to help calm symptoms. It is always recommended to discuss this with your pharmacist, midwife or GP before taking any medication especially during pregnancy. As part of your prenatal care it is important you see a doctor or your midwife on a regular basis this should be mentioned to the doctor at a routine visit.
Not everyone wants to screen for a potential chromosomal problem in their pregnancy but when they do Non Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) is the optimal chromosomal screening test currently available in the UK. However as this article says it is only available on the NHS to patients who screen high risk via the current 1st or 2nd trimester screening tests and is limited to only a few hospitals in the UK.
The number of laboratories offering NIPT testing is growing worldwide and this is also the case in the UK. This is my: works with the three main independent laboratories in the UK and two overseas laboratories in order to offer patients a choice of screening for their pregnancy.
All the laboratories that this is my: uses offer screening for the common chromosomal problem including Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes, with some also offering screening for certain microdeletions and sex link aneuploidy conditions including Turner’s. They also offer the option of screening for the gender of the baby.
The accuracy of the NIPT screen is greater than 99% for Down’s syndrome and far fewer women therefore have to undergo invasive testing unnecessarily, making it a far superior test than the current NHS screens.
The 1st trimester combined screen is the current NHS national test which uses a combination of ultrasound and maternal blood serum to detect up to 90% of affected chromosomal pregnancies. It also puts 1 in 30 patients into a high risk group where they are given a risk greater than 1 in 150 of the pregnancy being affected by Down’s syndrome. It is reassuring to know however that the majority of pregnancies falling into this category will be normal and will NOT be affected with a chromosomal abnormality. For these patients further testing is advised to rule out the pregnancy being affected by a chromosomal problem. Prior to NIPT the only testing available was invasive which carries up to a 1% risk of miscarriage to many likely unaffected pregnancies. NIPT has changed this. Many women falling into the high risk category are opting for NIPT instead of amniocentesis or Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS). In London it seems that this can be offered via the NHS in these opt in centres to high risk mothers, but women can also access this service at any stage as a private fee paying client in centres such as this is my:.
This is my: has also seen much demand from clients just wanting a better screen for their pregnancy. Over 80% of our clients have either already been given a low risk result or are just opting into our service wanting better screening. This has been the case for many years as this is my: has always offered ‘Gold Standard’ screening. We have over 13 years of history of screening both private patients and also contracting with the NHS itself for the previous triple test screening. NIPT Chromosomal screening for Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities has now been available for over three years at this is my:, and it seems the NHS now agrees with the benefits of this screening.
As this article suggests it is still a relatively expensive screen for the NHS to be able to offer it to the entire population at this point in time.
This is my: Health Screening and Ultrasound Centres constantly strive to offer screening which is affordable to as many as possible. Currently we offer a comprehensive screening package from 9 weeks including ultrasound and NIPT for £395.
It is important to note that an ultrasound
scan for the first trimester at 11 weeks should also include a structural check that the baby is developing normally including anatomy of the head, body and limbs whilst the NIPT blood test will rule out the main chromosomal problems to the highest degree.
NIPT is still a screening test and when a patient is given a high risk result on the NIPT screen then an invasive test is recommended to confirm the NIPT findings.
We have a team of trained advisors and clinical specialists who will be happy to talk to you about Non Invasive Prenatal Testing and the best options for you and your baby.
Morning sickness can often be first sign that you’re pregnant and is extremely common affecting over 80% of mums-to-be. Despite its name morning sickness can actually happen any time of day or night and does vary from person to person. So, what is the cause of morning sickness? Unfortunately there isn’t an answer to that question, Doctors still aren’t sure of a definitive cause however the most common theories would suggest:
• High levels of the pregnancy hormone HCG during the first trimester
• Elevated oestrogen levels
• Enhanced sense of smell during pregnancy
We have come up with some top tips to help you cope and minimise the unpleasant sickness in the first trimester of pregnancy.
1) Get plenty of rest – It is important to ensure you get a good night’s sleep, to help this try block out as much sunlight as possible by wearing a sleep mask etc. To ease the stomach and backache maybe consider purchasing a maternity body pillow to support you whilst you rest. In the morning take your time. Avoid rushing around and get up slowly.
2) Avoid certain foods – Try avoiding caffeine, fatty and spicy foods. Alternatively try eating a selection of nuts, salty crackers and citrus foods. It is very important to eat plenty of vitamins found in fruit and veg! If chocolate is a must, ensure it is a small amount of dark chocolate as it contains more nutrients and less sugar than white and milk chocolate.
3) Eat little and often – It is important to always have some kind of food in your stomach, as this will lower your chances of experiencing nausea. If the stomach is empty, the acids have nothing to work on, except for the stomach lining, resulting in worsening sickness.
4) Work in an office? Avoid computer monitor flicker – The rapid, almost unnoticeable flickering of the computer monitor could cause morning sickness. If you must use a computer, reduce the chances of nausea by adjusting the screen by making the fonts bold and larger and changing the background to a soft tan or pink colour reducing eye strain.
5) Fluids, Fluids, Fluids! – Being hydrated is crucial for good health, and is very important during pregnancy. It may seem hard to drink your recommended 8 glasses of water per day, especially if it feels your stomach disagrees. However, the more dehydrated you are, the more nauseated you will become. If drinking water is hard, it has been said flat decaffeinated Coca-Cola is a lifesaver, you could also try sucking ice cubes made from water or fruit juice is also an effective method. The colder the drink, the easier it is to consume.
6) Ginger – For many years, ginger has long been publicised as a stomach soother, and studies have shown that it may help relieve nausea symptoms. Sipping cold ginger ale, or adding a slice of raw ginger to water or tea may help sooth your stomach. Snacks such as ginger bread, or ginger cookies will all effectively help prevent nausea.
We would like to hear from you too!
Why don’t you send us your tips and help others
Book a scan before the schools go back and take advantage of our Summertime Special Offer.
Upgrade from a 4D Growth to a 4D Well-being scan, or from a Growth Scan to a Well-being Scan at no extra charge.
Quote STS2016 when booking.
Terms and conditions of offer
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2. The STS2016 code (the “Code”) is valid for a single use only, cannot be exchanged for cash or gift vouchers, is not transferable, is not for resale and cannot be sold over the internet.
3. The Code is valid at any this is my: Ultrasound Screening Centre for a free upgrade either (i) from a 4D Growth Scan to a 4D Well-being scan or (ii) from a Growth Scan to a Well-being Scan.
4. The Code is not valid against any other scan or screen or other service offered by This is my:.
5. The Code must be quoted when booking your 4D Growth Scan or 4D Well-being scan (as appropriate). and the upgrade will be applied at the time of your scan.
6. The Code cannot be used with any other promotional voucher or discount.
Do YOU want to have a full range of pregnancy ultrasound scans, including dating scan, gender scan, NIPT and even 4D scans?
Do YOU want to be the star of this is my:’s YouTube channel?
We are looking for someone in the very early stages of pregnancy to be in a series of videos showing what is involved with various baby scans that this is my: offers. In return, you get all the scans and your NIPT screen for FREE!
Ideally you will be less than  weeks pregnant, and available to attend our Leeds clinic regularly during your pregnancy. If you are used to using Facebook and twitter, that’s even better!
If this sounds exciting, please fill in the form below and we will be in touch soon!