Your week ultrasound scan is the 1st of the 2 routine pregnancy scans you're offered on the NHS. It's officially known as the 'dating scan' because it's used to pinpoint your baby's due date. It's also a bit of a moment. That's because it's likely to be the 1st time you 'see' your baby whee!
So in love, it's unreal! Officially, the purpose of the scan is to check: When your baby is due. An ultrasound scan is a much more accurate way of predicting your baby's gestation how far along in the pregnancy you actually are than counting from the date of your last period which is all you and your GP have had to go on up till now.
Whether you're having twins, triplets or more. Yep, this is the moment when you find out if there's more than 1 baby in there! Whether there's a heartbeat and if the skull, limbs, organs, and umbilical cord are developing normally. This is the bit that, naturally, we all worry about. What the position of the placenta is, and how it's developing. Your baby's NT or nuchal translucency. This is a part of your scan that you can opt out of but, combined with a blood test, this measurement of the fluid at the back of your baby's neck can give you an indication of your baby's risk of Down's syndrome, Edwards' syndrome and Patau's syndrome.
They will also check that anatomically everything is where should be. Then you get your amazing pictures and you can tell the world! Dating scans are offered at some point between 8 and 14 weeks, with most of them happening between 11 and 14 weeks.
If you've had fertility treatment, have a history of miscarriages or are in pain or bleeding during the first weeks of pregnancy, you may be offered an early scan before this routine dating scan.
But, assuming your pregnancy is healthy, you'll still have the dating scan at round about the week mark. What happens at the scan? The scan is done externally by rolling a device over your tummy unless your womb is very deep in your pelvis or you're very overweight, when it may be thought better to offer you a trans-vaginal scan instead.
You'll be asked to arrive with a full bladder. But don't be tempted to skip the water drinking for that reason. It's best to wear trousers or a skirt and a top, rather than a dress, as once you're in the dimly lit room, you'll be asked to lie on your back on a couch and adjust your clothes to expose your bump.
Then the sonographer will put some gel on the skin of your tummy be ready: Once the gel's on, the sonographer will place the transducer — which looks a bit like a computer mouse or a small paint roller — onto your bump and move it around, allowing the high-frequency sound waves produced by the transducer to bounce off your belly and create a picture on the sonographer's monitor. As the transducer gets to work, a black-and-white image of your baby will appear on the monitor that the sonographer is looking at.
Often, you can see the screen too, or it'll be turned towards you after a few moments — but not always. And, if the pregnancy is progressing well, you'll also see a clear heartbeat.
Costs for these vary, and aren't always flagged up in advance, so do make sure you take some cash with you. Your partner or another close relative will always be welcome to come with you but it's totally up to you, of course. Most mums-to-be would probably say it's a good idea to have some company, especially if you're anxious about the scan. Private providers may offer this earlier, however. Will I get the results straightaway? Pretty much — even if it's not such good news.
In order to get the full results, the findings of the nuchal translucency NT part of your scan need to be combined with the findings of your blood test. If you haven't had your blood test yet timings of these tests do vary from hospital to hospital or if your blood test results haven't come through in time for both results to be combined into the final result, you'll have to wait to get this result from your midwife at a later date do ask when that's likely to be.
What will the results tell me? You may find that your EDD is quite a few days later or earlier than you thought. If your scan picks up anything of concern, this might include: This is usually because, earlier on in your pregnancy, the baby died, or failed to develop, but you may not have had any signs or symptoms like pain or bleeding.
If this happens to you, there are a number of possible next steps; you will be given specialist advice — and time to make up your mind. Sometimes, the sonographer will detect an abnormality which may indicate a problem with your baby's development. If this happens to you, you will be referred to a fetal medicine consultant for further advice and tests. This is usually not treated as an urgent concern.
It will be probably just be noted on your file, and checked carefully later at your 20 week scan. A raised NT score. You may be told on that day if your nuchal translucency test scored higher than 3. But it needs to be looked at in combination with your blood test.
If, when that is done, "you will," says Jane, "be offered an appointment with a consultant to discuss the possible implications. Of course, you're anxious as well as excited at the idea of seeing your baby.
But it really does help to try to keep things in perspective: Even if there is an issue, it may well be something that turns out to be not that serious or something that can be easily managed by the specialists. And there's always a follow-up with support and advice. I was literally having an asthma attack by the time they called me in. But it was great. I saw his little heartbeat I now think it is a boy! It really was great — hubby even welled up!