The first scan is a dating scan ultrasound measurement of the embryo/fetus that usually takes place between the 11 and 13 th week of pregnancy. Early scans, between 6 and 10 weeks might be offered in exceptional circumstances. This scan focuses on dating the pregnancy and on whether the fetus is generally developing well. The dating scan can include a nuchal translucency NT scan, which is part of the combined screening test for Down's syndrome, if you choose to have this screening. The second scan offered to all pregnant women usually takes place between 18 and 21 weeks of pregnancy. It is sometimes called the mid-pregnancy scan.
Using the date of the first day of your last menstrual period, and the average length of your cycle, you can calculate how many weeks you are roughly using our pregnancy calculator- see below on this page. An ultrasound scan will also confirm your gestation more accurately if you are unsure of your dates. I got my scan date through about 1.5 weeks after my midwife appointment and was scanned at exactly 12 weeks, however at the scan I was dated as being 12 weeks and 5 days gone. They then booked my 20 week scan at the end of my 12 weeks scan so I had that date straight away. Just so you know, your scan can take place between 11 and 14 weeks.
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For most mums-to-be, the first scan will be a dating scan at between 10 weeks and 13 weeks plus six days of pregnancy NICE 2008. However, the timing of your first scan will also depend on how your pregnancy is going, and where you live. Your midwife may recommend an early scan at between six weeks and 10 weeks if you have experienced bleeding. Dating scans are used to confirm how many weeks pregnant you are and your expected due date. Why would I have a dating scan? A dating scan might be. At 8 to 14 weeks of pregnancy, usually around 12 weeks, you should be offered a pregnancy dating scan. It will let you know a more reliable due date and check how your baby is developing.
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The size of the baby correlates less and less with its age as time goes on. Ultrasound examinations from 12 to 22 weeks are regarded as being within 10 days of accuracy or up to 10 days earlier or 10 days later than the woman's calculated due date. It is usually offered to pregnant women from 10 weeks to 13 weeks gestation, but can be carried out any time from 6 weeks. If you have had bleeding during your pregnancy or you have had previous miscarriages, your doctor or midwife may recommend an early dating scan from 6 to 10 weeks gestation. If you decide to go ahead with this optional screening test you will be offered a scan between 11 weeks 2 days and 13 weeks 6 days ideally 12 weeks. This is the only time that this scan can be performed.
Ultrasound scans use sound waves to build a picture of the baby in the womb.The scans are painless, have no known side effects on mothers or babies, and can be carried out at any stage of pregnancy.Talk to your midwife, GP or obstetrician about any concerns you have.
For many women, ultrasound scans are the highlight of pregnancy.It's very exciting to "see" your baby in the womb, often moving their hands and legs.Having a scan in pregnancy is usually a happy event, but be aware that ultrasound scans may detect some serious health conditions, so try to be prepared for that information.See What if a screening test finds something for more information on what may happen if a scan or other screening test suggests your baby may be more likely to have a condition.
Most scans are carried out by specially trained staff called sonographers.The scan is carried out in a dimly lit room so the sonographer is able to get good images of your baby. You'll then be asked to lower your skirt or trousers to your hips and raise your top to your chest.The sonographer will put ultrasound gel on your tummy and tuck tissue paper around your clothing to protect it from the gel.