I’m 10 weeks pregnant and my 12 week ultrasound scan is coming up. I’m getting more and more nervous. Can you explain it to me and help me feel calmer?

Answer: The 12 week scan should be really exciting for you because it’s the first time you’ll see your baby. And you’ll come away with your first baby picture.

A routine scan will show if your baby’s healthy and that’s very reassuring. At different stages of your pregnancy it will tell you that all’s well. Every time you see your baby on the screen you’ll bond closer and closer. During a scan your carers will do the following:

  • check your baby’s position and the development of the placenta
  • monitor your baby’s growth rate, particularly when you’re uncertain about the date you conceived
  • confirm whether your baby is ready to be born if they’re overdue
  • verify that your baby is in the head-down position after week 38
  • monitor your baby throughout any special tests such as amniocentesis or fetoscopy, a technique for looking at the foetus using a thin, illuminating telescope.

Having a scan is painless and usually takes about a quarter of an hour. You’ll probably be asked to drink about a pint of water, and not urinate before arriving at the clinic. This may cause some discomfort, but a full bladder will provide a clearer picture of your baby on the screen. At the clinic, you may be asked to remove your clothes and put on a hospital robe before lying on a bed beside a scanner. An oil or jelly, which acts as a conductor of the soundwaves, is rubbed gently onto your abdomen, and the transducer is passed over this area in different directions. As the image appears on the screen you can just relax, and enjoy your first view of your baby. The operator will explain the image on the screen,identifying, measuring and checking different parts of your baby’s body. Ask to hear the sound of your baby’s’ heart beating.

Good Luck!

By Miriam Stoppard, The UK’s most trusted childcare expert


About The Author

Childcare Expert

M.D, D.Sc, FRCP, DCL, OBE Doctor, businesswoman and writer, Miriam Stoppard has two sons, two stepsons, two stepdaughters and eleven grandchildren. She obtained the degrees of M.B., B.S., M.D., M.R.C.P., while studying and practising medicine at London, Newcastle and Bristol Universities. In 1998 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London. After seven years practising medicine and specialising in dermatology she entered the pharmaceutical industry eventually holding the posts of Research Director and Managing Director. Later she developed a career in television and to date has published more than eighty books on conception, pregnancy and birth, child care and development, and women's health. She currently writes a daily page for a national newspaper. In addition to two Honorary Doctorates of Science, in 2004 she received an Honorary Doctorate of Law. In November 2008 Miriam received the prestigious Stonewall Journalist of the Year award. In January 2010 Miriam received an OBE in the New Year's Honour List for her services to healthcare and charity. HOBBIES: Family; France; Opera; Skiing

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