Written by Beata Anderson
Pregnancy is an exciting time. You’re growing a baby, anxiously awaiting their arrival, and preparing for a new chapter in your life, however it can be worrying and overwhelming especially during these uncertain times.
Your first ultrasound will usually occur between 12 and 14 weeks to establish an estimated due date and to have a screening test for Down syndrome, Edwards and Patau’s Syndrome if you have chosen to.
The next ultrasound scan is between 18 and 22 weeks. This scan checks for baby’s growth and baby’s anatomy and it is called routine anatomy scan. Some women find the time between the two NHS ultrasound scans a little too long. After the first trimester some women feel less tired, less nauseas, maybe even feeling more ‘normal’. This reduction of pregnancy symptoms and not feeling their baby moving can be adding anxiety to the 8-10 weeks gap.
At our clinics we offer early detailed ultrasound scans from 16 weeks of gestation. It is a great opportunity to break up that long gap between the two NHS scan and see your baby. By 16 weeks many of baby’s organs and anatomy are already developed.
What are we looking for?
Our sonographer’s are looking for many things, and these are:•firstly checking your baby has a heartbeat and what position is your baby lying then we will show you your baby on our screens
•measurements of the head, abdominal circumference, and femur (thigh) bone to ensure baby is growing
•a survey of all major organs and structures: baby’s face , both kidneys, the bladder, brain, upper and lower limbs, stomach, spine and abdominal wall
•the umbilical cord
•the location of the placenta
•amniotic fluid levels
•maternal pelvic structures
To scan everything in the list is dependent on your baby’s position and sometimes after a few tries we do a few of our tricks to encourage your baby to show us all anatomy. Sometimes it is not possible to scan everything on the list but please be assured our team will try their hardest to complete everything for each scan. Also, it is important to know that fetal heart views cannot be obtained at an early gestation and that those will be checked at your routine anatomy scans.
Preparation for your scan
When you book a scan with us, we would like to give you a reassuring, professional and lovely experience. If you would like to find out the gender of your baby, please let our sonographers know when you arrive at your appointment.
Our lovely assistants will call you ahead of your visit to make sure that you have all the relevant information about your appointment. One of the most important and most helpful preparation from you, is a full bladder, your maternity notes and please don’t forget your surgical mask 🙂