The Dating Scan

baby scan ultrasound waves

For the new mum to be, Ultrasound scans are the highlight of her pregnancy. It’s an amazing and exciting time seeing your baby for the first time, so emotional watching baby leaping around, waving their tiny arms, kicking those matchstick legs, and seeing your baby’s tiny heart beating!

Baby Ultrascan Sound Waves

baby scan ultrasound waves

Ultrasound scans use sound waves to build a picture of your baby in the womb. The scans are painless, have no known side effects on mum or babies, and can be carried out at any stage of pregnancy. Talk to your midwife, GP or obstetrician about any concerns you have.

Before your Dating scan you will be asked to drink about two pints of water to fill up your bladder; this pushes up the uterus to give clearer imaging. You’ll then have gel rubbed onto your tummy and a hand-held probe passed smoothly backwards and forwards over your skin. If you look at the monitor, you’ll see a picture of your baby on the screen.

What is a Sonographer?

The sonographer will carefully examine your baby’s body. Having the scan does not hurt, but the sonographer may need to apply pressure on your tummy to get the best views of your baby. Your sonographer may not be able to get good views if your baby is lying in an awkward position or moving around too much, if you are overweight or your body tissue is dense, sometimes this can reduce the quality of the image because there is more tissue for the ultrasound waves to get through before they reach your baby. If it’s difficult to get a good image, the scan may take longer, you could be asked to take a walk around and have something sugary to eat.  You may also be ask to re-book for another time.

If the picture is difficult to understand, ask the sonographer to explain it. She will also measure the baby to check she is measuring the right size for your dates. She may use this information to give you a new estimated date of birth. The dating scan can include a nuchal translucency (NT) scan, which is part of the combined screening test for Down’s syndrome; you can choose to have this screening.

Could it be twins?

Around 90% of multiple pregnancies are diagnosed by an early ultrasound at around 8 to 12 weeks. Carrying twins or more can be more complicated than carrying a single baby and your Midwife will want to monitor your progress closely, so expect to have frequent check-ups.

Remember, an ultrasound scan is an important medical examination and it is treated in the same way as any other hospital investigation. Normally your partner will be allowed to go into the scan with you, but most Hospitals don’t allow children, so check before you go.