20 week scan

What to expect at your 20 week scan

What to expect at your 20-week scan

You’re about halfway through your pregnancy. It’s likely that your bump will be showing by now and you’ll usually be through the worst of the morning sickness if you had it. You may have even started to feel those flutters that come with a world of feelings.  It’s time for your 20-week scan. But what can you expect?


Does it happen at exactly 20 weeks?

Not necessarily. The NHS says that the 20-week scan should take place between the 18th and 21st weeks of your pregnancy. It’s done in a similar way to your 12-week scan, and it’s offered to everyone. It’s also known as the ‘anomaly scan’ and it’s designed to pick up any of a number of conditions that could be present in your baby’s development.


Who carries out the 20 week scan?

It is usually carried out by an experienced sonographer who will check your baby is developing normally. They will need to concentrate and take measurements, which can take some time, so expect them to be quiet while they do this.  They will usually be able to talk to you about your baby, and often they will print out images for you. There is sometimes a charge for this so make sure you have some money with you or check in advance.


Will I be able to see my baby?

Yes, you should be able to see your baby on the screen. Sometimes, the baby can be lying in an awkward position which can make seeing them clearly tricky, but don’t worry. Sonographers are experts and know what they’re looking for.  You can even see things like bubbles and hiccups, so be prepared for a few emotional tears!


Can I find out the gender of my baby?

The 20-week scan is generally considered the time to find out the sex of your baby so if you’d like to know, tell your sonographer when you arrive. Not all hospitals routinely reveal babies’ genders to parents, so talk to your midwife about it and consider paying for a private scan separately if it’s important to you.


Can I take someone with me?

Generally, the answer would be yes although they prefer it if you don’t take other small children along as the room is often dark and the sonographer needs to concentrate. However, during the current pandemic, it’s worth speaking to your midwife or the scanning centre before you go as the rules may be different at the moment.


What if there’s a problem?

Don’t panic. If the sonographer finds something they’re not sure about, they will usually ask a colleague to come and take a look. Whilst this can feel frightening, try to stay calm and trust in the experts. Let them take a proper look and then ask any questions. There are other tests they can do apart from the scan, and having tests in themselves doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong, it just means that you and your baby are getting the best care.


After your 20 week scan

You often have to have a full bladder for a scan, so the first thing you’ll do is look for the ladies! After that, you can go home and put your feet up. If you’ve found out whether your baby is a boy or a girl, you can think about whether – or how – you’re going to let people know and then hop on the internet and start the lengthy yet enjoyable process of choosing your pushchair, nursery furniture, car seat, and most importantly a name for your new baby!


Good luck, and don’t forget to share your scan pics with us on Instagram



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