If you’re pregnant, congratulations! We hope you enjoy this most wonderful of life’s rollercoasters! The next few months are likely to see you experiencing lots of different emotions; there can be no denying that whilst pregnancy is amazing- you’re growing a whole new person in there after all!- it can also be a time where hormones and other life stresses are seemingly magnified. We’re hoping to be able to ease your worries somewhat with our new Mama-to-be series (we’ll be looking at the 12 week scan, the anomaly scan and any other pregnancy related topic you’d like), but please please do speak to a medical professional if you are at all worried about anything. We are not experts and we are all different!
Today we’re looking at what to expect at the 12 week scan. You may already have had an early scan at the hospital, for whatever reason, but for most women the dating scan at around 12 weeks gestation is the first time you will see your baby! It can be an amazing experience, so here are some of our top tips for preparing:
- Think about who you’ll take with you. Most hospitals are fine with at least one, sometimes two, people in the room while you have your dating scan. You may choose to have your birthing partner with you, or you may want to bring a relative to hold your hand. Some women take older children with them so that they can involve them in the pregnancy as much as possible. If you do want children to see one of your scans, this is the one to choose as there are fewer measurements taken this time. But remember that whoever you bring will need to be able to wait patiently and do check with the hospital that it will be ok.
- Be prepared for a change in your due date! The dating scan is a more accurate way for doctors to assess your baby’s estimated due date and often measurements taken at this scan mix things up a bit. Remember it’s only a guide though- baby often comes when baby is ready!
- Drink plenty of water- but not too long before your appointment! When you get to the hospital, you will be asked to drink some water and to keep your bladder full so that it pushes your womb up and gives a better picture. But please don’t worry if you need the loo!
- Wear suitable clothing. This may sound silly, but there are reasons for this piece of advice! The lubricating gel that the ultrasound technician uses will not only be cold, but it will be spread across your abdomen as the baby is located. Wear loose fitting clothes for easy access and to limit the spread of the gel. A top that can easily be lifted whilst maintaining your modesty, plus a skirt or trousers that can be rolled or pushed down at the waistband are best. The gel will wash off easily too.
- Brace yourself. You may not be aware that the ultrasound technician needs to move their device across your abdomen with a fair amount of pressure in order to complete the scan. Hence our earlier advice- go to the loo if you really need to, otherwise this part can be quite uncomfortable!
As already mentioned, the dating scan is often the first scan in a pregnancy, and along with checking measurements to determine gestation, your ultrasound technician will also be checking for a heart beat, and to see whether there is more than one baby in there. Here are some points to think about:
- Try to stay calm. The first scan can be daunting and more than a little worrying as you wait to see a beating heart on the screen. Let the ultrasound technician do their job and wait until measurements have been made until you ask questions. Often a heartbeat is located straight away and then you are able to relax a little.
- One heartbeat or two? Some mums of multiples claim they knew soon after conception that there was more than one baby in there, but you won’t know for sure until you’ve been scanned. If you have multiples in the family, it’s worth bearing the possibility in mind!
When all the necessary measurements have been taken, a heartbeat has been detected and all babies have been counted (!) you will no doubt have lots of questions. If anything on the screen is not clear to you, ask. Your technician will be able to point out various body parts and you may also be able to take away a photo of your baby too.
Obviously, you will want to share your news! Many couples wait until after this scan before announcing a pregnancy, so at this point the following needs to be adhered to:
- Step One: change your avatar across all social media to your scan picture
- Step Two: start taking bets on whether it’s a boy or a girl
- Step Three: tell family and loved ones
*NB obviously the last three points are intended as a humorous end to this post… as ever, please speak to your midwife or doctor if you have any questions following your 12 week scan!