first pregnancy scan

Heading off to your first pregnancy scan can be both exciting and terrifying. It’s the first time you get to see your growing baby, but there’s always a fear something may be wrong. It can also be daunting not really knowing what to expect at the first scan.

If you’re due your first pregnancy scan, below you’ll discover everything you can expect.

Will you need to bring anything to your first pregnancy scan?

You don’t need to take anything with you, unless you’ve already received your hospital maternity notes. These can be used to see how well baby is developing, but they aren’t required. So, all you need to bring is yourself.

What will you be able to see at your first pregnancy scan?

If you choose to undergo the standard 12-week scan, you’ll be able to see a black and white image of your baby. They will have all of their organs, bones, limbs, muscles and sex organs. This means you’ll also be able to discover the sex if you want to.

If you want a higher quality image of your baby, you can opt for a 3D or 4D scan, although you still may not be able to see a whole lot depending upon how baby is positioned. It’s typically best to wait until baby is a little more developed before undergoing a 3D or 4D scan.

How is the scan carried out?

The 12-week scan is usually carried out abdominally. A cold gel will be applied onto the stomach before an ultrasound device is rubbed on top of it. This produces a 2D image onto a computer screen, giving you the first glimpse of your baby.

Occasionally, internal scans may be required where a small probe is gently placed inside the vagina. These are typically done to measure endometrial thickness and cervical assessments. However, the majority of patients will undergo the non-invasive abdominal tests.

How do I prepare for my first pregnancy scan?

It is better to undergo the scan on a full bladder. Therefore, it’s recommended that you drink a full pint of water an hour before your scan is due to take place. You’ll also want to prepare yourself for the coldness of the gel.

Many women are surprised by how cold the gel actually is and being anxious can make it feel like more of a shock than it needs to be. So, although you’ll understandably be nervous, it’s worth trying to control those nerves prior to the scan.

Who can attend the scan?

You can take anyone into the scan with you. However, as it is your first look at your baby, you’ll obviously want to ensure you’re not too distracted and you can focus fully on the scan.

What does the scan test for?

The 12-week scan assesses your baby’s development to check that everything is as it should be. If a problem is discovered, you’ll be recommended to a fetal medicine consultant. They will either confirm the findings or request more testing to be carried out.

Overall, the 12-week scan is an exciting milestone in your pregnancy journey. It provides the first glimpse at your little miracle and provides peace of mind that all is as it should be. The above are the main things you can expect from the test. However, if you have any concerns or questions, one of our scanning experts will be on hand to help.