First baby scan experiences are really exciting, but you might also be a little nervous. You may not know what to expect at your appointment, and this might make you feel a little unprepared. Here’s what you can expect to happen at your first baby scan.
Ultrasound scans are usually carried out by a sonographer. You’ll be asked to lie on your back, and lift your shirt so the sonographer can access your stomach. The room will be dim, but not dark. The sonographer will put a cold gel on your stomach to allow better contact between your skin and the probe. The probe will be passed over your stomach, and the images will show on the screen. The screen will be tilted more towards the sonographer so that they can examine your little one. It might get a little uncomfortable, or you may feel some pressure from the probe as the sonographer tries to get the best possible view of your baby.
Most hospitals advise that a scan will take around 20 minutes to half an hour. However, depending on the position of your baby, it may take longer.
Ultrasound scans are not harmful to you or your baby.
Your first baby scan is sometimes called the dating scan. It’s usually offered between week 10 and week fourteen. Your sonographer will be able to give you any results on the day of your scan and estimate your due date. You might have a nuchal translucency scan, which is part of the screening process for Down’s Syndrome. You can choose not to have this screening. You will be offered at least one more scan during your pregnancy.
Your first baby scan can be used:
- To check the baby’s size and adjust your due date.
- To check if you’re having twins, or more.
- To detect some physical conditions.
You can bring someone with you to your appointment. Most hospitals won’t allow children to attend, but this can depend on the age of the child. Older children may be able to attend with you, so ask your hospital for more information.
If your scan shows everything is normal, then you will continue your antenatal care as routine health care. If the sonographer has concerns after the scan, they may seek a second opinion. You may be offered further testing, or follow-up appointments with your midwife or consultant.
Finding out the sex of your baby won’t be possible at your first baby scan, but you can ask at your next scan. However, some hospitals won’t disclose the sex of the baby at any scan due to hospital policy. It’s worth checking with your hospital for more information.
You should check with your hospital if this is a service they offer. Some hospitals provide this free, but others may ask for a small fee. Some will give you one image for free but ask for a payment if you want extra copies for family and friends.