Officially known as the ‘dating scan’ the 12 week ultrasound scan confirms how far along you are, checks foetal development–and of course, provides you with those unforgettable first images of your baby!
Dating scans aren’t always offered at 12 weeks on the dot–because the precise number of weeks you’re actually pregnant is yet to be determined. So scans can happen anywhere between 8 and 14 weeks.
If you’ve undergone IVF, however, or have had prior miscarriages or are experiencing pain or bleeding, you may receive an earlier scan before the routine ones.
While the 12 week ultrasound is used to identify your due date, without the certainty of your ovulation date, the science is not exact–thus the date you receive is an estimate, give-or-take two weeks either side.
The scan checks for heartbeat, normal development of skull, limbs, organs, umbilicus, placenta and placental position, and also reveals whether you’ll be expecting more than one surprise–twins, triplets, etc.
At this point your sonographer will measure the fluid at the back of your baby’s neck–referred to as nuchal translucency–and combined with a blood test, this can provide you with your baby’s risk assessment for Down’ syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome.
Finally, you’ll receive those long-awaited, grainy monochrome images of your little bean–a special reminder of that first time you laid eyes upon your baby…although you’ll never forget the moment!