your 12 week scan

What to expect at your 12 week ultrasound scan

The day you see your baby for the first time.

So, here it is, the day you have been waiting for…your 12 week ultrasound scan.  The day where you can stop hiding your pregnancy to the world, and the day where you get the reassurance you need.  The day you see your baby for the first time.

The first 12 weeks of pregnancy are the toughest for many.  You may feel, sick, tired, emotional, worried and confused.  All this combined with the excitement, and you bursting to tell everyone your good news!

From the day you saw your positive pregnancy test, the next focus will be on your 12 week scan or dating scan as it is also known.  But with that brings nerves and worry that everything is OK.

So, what should you expect at the scan?

The main aims of your 12 week ultrasound scan are to:

  • Check your projected due date
  • Check your baby’s development and growth
  • Check your placenta
  • Detect if there is more than one baby

If you have pre-agreed, then it is likely you will also receive the Down’s syndrome test, which consists of taking a blood test and measuring the fluid in the baby’s neck (sometimes referred to as a nuchal test).

Your scan usually takes around 20-30 minutes.  You will be asked to turn up to the scan with a full bladder.  Often, you may be sent back to the waiting room if your bladder isn’t full enough, and asked to drink some more water.  Don’t worry if this happens.

Once you lie on the couch, the sonographer will ask you to lift your top and slightly lower your bottom half of clothing.  They will then tuck some tissue into the top of your knickers, so your clothes don’t get covered in gel.

WARNING:  The gel is cold!

Prepare yourself for the gel being cold – it can make you jump!  Once the gel is applied, the sonographer will run the Ultrasound wand over your belly a number of times, sometimes applying a bit of pressure, and stopping in certain positions to take images.

What will I see at my 12 week ultrasound scan? 

You will see black and white images on the screen.  They look a bit blurry to the inexperienced eye, and from the angle you will be lying at.  The sonographer may be quiet whilst they scan you, but try not to worry, they are concentrating on getting the information they need.  Once they have taken measurements in different positions, it is likely they will show you on the screen your baby, pointing out any key organs and parts of the body.  This is when you really get to see your baby for the first time.

It is a truly magical and memorable moment, and the day your pregnancy becomes very real.  It is the reassurance you need that everything is OK.

Some words of wisdom from the didofy family…

  • In the run up to your scan, keep your nerves under control – practice closing your eyes and taking deep breaths (breathe in for the count of 4 and out for the count of 7, and repeat as many times as you like to keep you calm)
  • Drink plenty of water before you go – at least a pint but not so much that you are turning up to the scan cross legged!
  • Take a partner, family member or friend with you – its always good to help calm you and support you
  • Wear something comfortable and easy to lift and roll down
  • Don’t forget your maternity notes
  • Relax as much as you can. We know this is hard, but the first scan is really memorable and one you can treasure for years to come, so you want to remember it – much easier if you are as relaxed as possible.

You can find out more on your 12 week ultrasound scan on the NHS website



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