Ultrasound scans use sound waves to build up a picture of your baby in your womb. They are completely painless, have no known serious side effects and may be carried out at any stage in pregnancy. Many expectant parents look forward to their scans because it gives you the first glimpse of your baby.
What do scans tell us?
Scans help us to check your baby’s measurements which give us an accurate date for your baby’s expected birth, and check that they are growing as expected. we can also screen for any problems in your baby’s development.
The scans are carried out by our specially trained staff called sonographers who will apply gel over your stomach and then move a hand held device over the whole area to get a range of views of your baby’s position and movements. Some of these sonographers are also midwives.
Antenatal(pre-birth) scanning is offered to you at two key stages during your pregnancy. Please see the National Screening Committee leaflet for more information here
- Dating scan 11-14 weeks is the first scan which will check that your baby is growing and developing as expected. This scan can also show if you are expecting one baby, twins or more and by measuring the baby’s size we can get an accurate due date.
- Your midwife will also offer another screening test for Downs, Edwards and Pataus syndrome. This can be performed at your dating scan from 11 weeks and 2 days – 14 weeks and 1 day, if you wish. At this appointment you will also be offered a blood test which together with the scan gives us a probability of your baby having any of the above conditions. Please let your midwife know if you do not wish to have this screening.
- The scan at 18 weeks – 20 weeks and 6 days will check that all is going well and can help us assess whether or not your baby has developed, or is at risk of developing an abnormality or medical condition. You will be able to see your baby at this stage of your pregnancy.
We are happy to explain the scan if you are not sure of what you are looking at – just ask us. Although scans are medical procedures, many people feel it makes the baby seem real to them. We can offer you an ultrasound picture for a small charge. Ask your midwife for more information.
- The Fetal Medicine Clinic also helps with diagnosis, close monitoring and support for parents with babies with problems