Early dating scan nhs

It's used to see how far along in your pregnancy you are and check your baby's development. Your midwife or doctor will book you a dating scan appointment.

Tests, scans and checks

It will usually take place at your local hospital ultrasound department. The person performing the scan is called a sonographer. You may need to have a full bladder for this scan, as this makes the ultrasound image clearer.


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You can ask your midwife or doctor before the scan if this is the case. Find out more about what happens during a pregnancy ultrasound scan. Some abnormalities may also be detected at this scan, such as neural tube defects spina bifida is a type of neural tube defect. Screening for Down's syndrome will happen at the dating scan if:.

The screening test for Down's syndrome used at this stage of pregnancy is called the "combined test". The sonographer passes a probe over your skin. A black and white picture of the baby will appear on the ultrasound screen. During the examination, sonographers need to keep the screen in a position that gives them a good view of the baby. The sonographer will carefully examine your baby's body. Having the scan does not hurt, but the sonographer may need to apply slight pressure on your tummy to get the best views of the baby.

However, the sonographer may not be able to get good views if your baby is lying in an awkward position or moving around a lot.

12 WEEK PREGNANCY SCAN

If it's difficult to get a good image, the scan may take longer or have to be repeated at another time. There are no known risks to the baby or the mother from having an ultrasound scan, but it is important that you consider carefully whether to have the scan or not. This is because the scan can provide information that may mean you have to make further important decisions. For example, you may be offered further tests, such as amniocentesis, that have a risk of miscarriage.

Hospitals in England offer all pregnant women at least 2 ultrasound scans during their pregnancy:. The first scan is sometimes called the dating scan. The sonographer estimates when your baby is due the estimated date of delivery, or EDD based on the baby's measurements. 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.

This scan checks for structural abnormalities anomalies in the baby. Some women may be offered more than two scans, depending on their health and their pregnancy. No, not if you don't want to. The dating scan and anomaly scan are offered to all women, but you don't have to accept them. Your choice will be respected if you decide not to have the scans, and your antenatal care will continue as normal. You'll be given the chance to discuss it with your maternity team before making your decision.

Most hospitals do not allow children to attend scans as childcare is not usually available. Please ask your hospital about this before your appointment.


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Remember, an ultrasound scan is an important medical examination and it is treated in the same way as any other hospital investigation. Ultrasound scans can sometimes find problems with the baby. Most scans show that the baby is developing normally and no problems are found. This is because most babies are healthy and do not have abnormalities.

The booking appointment

You can continue with your routine antenatal care. If a problem is found or suspected, the sonographer may ask for a second opinion from another member of staff. You might be offered another test to find out for certain if there is a problem. An ultrasound scan is simple and painless. The sonographer may need to press on your abdomen to see your baby properly. As far as we know, the early pregnancy dating scan and the fetal anomaly scan we offer are safe for mother and baby.

Both of these scans can find problems before the baby is born. Finding out about a problem before the birth can help you and your partner prepare yourself. Sometimes it can help plan treatment for after the baby is born. Sometimes when women find out that there is a major problem, they may want to consider ending the pregnancy. Having the scans may make you anxious, especially if a problem is found. If you prefer not to know about any problems that your baby has before the birth, you need to think carefully whether you should have the scans. You should discuss your concerns with your midwife.

The NHS keep the results of all tests confidential. Hospital policies vary on how many health-care professionals have access to your test results. Your midwife will be able to explain the local arrangements to you. Most babies are healthy, but because the scans can show abnormalities you may want to ask your partner or someone else who can support you to come with you to your scan. It is best not to bring children to the appointment. They can distract you and the sonographer during the scan.

If problems are found on the scan, the sonographer will tell you about them, and this is not a suitable situation for children. It is sometimes possible to buy pictures of your baby taken during the scan.

Your antenatal care

Please tell the sonographer if you would like to do this before the scan starts. The sonographer will obtain the best picture of your baby within the appointment time. Sometimes the baby cannot be seen clearly using an abdominal transducer, so the sonographer may suggest you have an internal scan. This is called a transvaginal scan, and it can give a more detailed picture.

You will be asked to empty your bladder before this scan. A small transducer is inserted into the vagina, similar to having a tampon inserted.

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Your pregnancy week by week - NHS

A vaginal ultrasound scan is not usually painful. The sonographer will explain about the scan and ask for your agreement to do it. If you do not want to have an internal scan, please tell the sonographer. You will be offered an appointment for another abdominal scan. The sonographer has a list of things to look for in your baby and will also take some measurements. The sonographer will use an all Wales agreed checklist to look for certain conditions and structures, such as spina bifida.

The sonographer has to concentrate very hard during the scan, so please make sure you and the person supporting you do not distract them.

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