Congratulations! You’re going to become a parent, and the time has come for you to have your first pregnancy scan. Whether you are having your first scan at twelve weeks, or you’ve booked an early scan at 6-8 weeks to check that everything’s OK with your teeny tiny baby, it’s normal to feel excited, nervous, and a little bit confused all at the same time.
If this is your first pregnancy, then it’s completely normal to have a lot of questions about what to expect, and what you should do to prepare. While you can ask your midwife anything – no question is too silly for them, honest – we’ve also put together a quick guide for preparing for your scan to help you feel more confident and ready.
Types of Pregnancy Scan
1 – Transvaginal Scan
How early you are getting your scan is important, as different types of scans are used londonpregnancy.com, for example, to check how far along you are and confirm the viability of your pregnancy, then you will usually have a transvaginal scan. While this scan is a little more invasive compared to others, it’s essential as at this stage in the pregnancy, your baby is far too small to be seen using transabdominal scans.
To prepare for this process, all you need to do is make sure that you’re comfortable. Wear comfy clothing that’s easy to take off and put back on, as you’ll need to undress from the waist down and lie down on a bed. You’ll be given a paper towel to cover yourself with, and some time to get comfortable. The sonographer will apply a lubricating gel and gently insert a wand with an ultrasound scanner into your vagina. This turns the sound waves in your uterus into a picture, allowing you to see your tiny baby – who at this stage, will only be around half an inch or so in size.
While they may not look much like a baby just yet, the technician can get essential information from this scan, such as an estimated pregnancy dating.
2 – Transabdominal Scan
If you are having your first pregnancy scan at around twelve weeks pregnant, then this will typically be a transabdominal scan. By this stage, your baby is big enough for the ultrasound to pick up sound waves and create pictures from moving the ultrasound scanner across your belly. In some cases, a transvaginal scan may also be required at this stage to get a clearer look.
Before the scan, you may be asked to make sure that your bladder is full. While it might not be very comfortable, it’ll help you and your healthcare provider get the best results by providing a better view of your baby.
What to Expect During the Scan
During the scan, you will face a screen where you will be able to see your baby. You’ll see their heartbeat, and get a good look at their position, size, and development so far. Measurements will be taken, to make sure that they are developing as expected for this stage during the pregnancy.
What to Expect After the Scan
Regardless of the type of scan you have, after it’s complete, you’ll be given a report of the findings, including pictures of your baby to keep, and estimated measurements. If you are having a dating scan, then this is also when you’ll be told your due date.
Don’t worry if your due date is not what you expected it to be – the beginning stages of pregnancy can be confusing, as it’s often difficult to know exactly when you conceived. So, being a couple of weeks out if you’ve estimated it yourself is not uncommon. If you have any concerns, it’s worth bringing it up at the scan, or speaking to your midwife.
While at your appointment, you will also have the chance to ask any questions that you have about your pregnancy, future scans, or private scan options that are available. Get as much information as you need; the purpose of the scan isn’t just to check that your baby is developing normally, but also to ensure that you have the right information, care, and support throughout your pregnancy.
Getting your first pregnancy scan is exciting and nerve-racking. We hope this guide has helped you with knowing what to expect. Don’t forget, that if you have any more questions, worries, or concerns, your midwife is there to help.