Pregnancy Ultrasound - What To Expect

Health & Medical Blog

Ultrasounds are carried out during pregnancy to enable medical professionals to monitor the development of your baby and to highlight any problems.  So what can you expect when you attend for an ultrasound scan?  Read on for a helpful overview.

How many scans will you need?

If your pregnancy is normal, you will be offered two scans.  The first usually takes place between 8 to 14 weeks and the second from 18 to 21 weeks. If the sonographer is concerned that there is a problem with your baby, you may need to attend for further scans as the pregnancy progresses.

The first scan is used to estimate when the baby is actually due, the estimated date of delivery (EDD).  The second scan is used to check the baby for abnormalities, including Down's syndrome.  If you're keen to find out, you can also ask to be told the sex of your baby during the second scan.

Sometimes, if the baby is positioned awkwardly or if you are very overweight, it may be difficult for the sonographer to get a clear image of the baby.  In this case you may be asked to return for a further scan on another date.

You do not have to attend for scans during your pregnancy if you would prefer not to, although it is advisable, just in case your baby is not developing healthily.

What happens during the scan?

In the scan room, you will be asked to lie on a bed and expose your midriff so that the sonographer can carry out the scan.  Gel will be placed on your tummy to ensure a good contact between the ultrasound machine and your skin.  A handheld probe is then passed over the skin.  The probe emits ultrasound waves that create a black and white picture of your baby on the ultrasound screen. The scan is completely painless and poses no danger to either mother or baby.

The scan takes around 20 minutes and you will be given the results at the time.  If you want to, you can have your partner or a friend accompany you to the scan.  

Some hospitals will give you a hard copy picture of your scan, but you may have to pay for this.

Your ultrasound scans can be a happy and exciting part of your pregnancy, allowing you to see your son or daughter as they grow inside your body.  Scans are perfectly safe for both mother and baby, but if you have any concerns or want more information or advice, have a chat with your midwife or your doctor.


19 December 2016

Quitting smoking at last

I have tried to quit smoking three times over the last few years, but it never really stuck. My mother just got diagnosed with lung cancer, and it's given me the wakeup call that I have been waiting for. I have quit smoking again, but this time I spoke to my doctor before I started and it's made a lot of difference. He organised some nicotine replacement products and counselling to help me quit for good this time. I have started this blog to let people know how much easier it is to quit when your doctor is helping you.