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All pregnant women in England are offered an ultrasound scan at around 8 to 14 weeks of pregnancy. This is called the dating scan.
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It's used to see how far along in your pregnancy you are and check your baby's development. Your midwife or doctor will book you a dating scan appointment. It will usually take place at your local hospital ultrasound department.
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The person performing the scan is called a sonographer. You may need to have a full bladder for this scan, as this makes the ultrasound image clearer.
You can ask your midwife or doctor before the scan if this is the case. Find out more about what happens during a pregnancy ultrasound scan.
12 week pregnancy dating scan: What do I need to know?
Some abnormalities may also be detected at this scan, such as neural tube defects spina bifida is a type of neural tube defect. Screening for Down's syndrome will happen at the dating scan if:. The screening test for Down's syndrome used at this stage of pregnancy is called the "combined test". It involves a blood test and measuring the fluid at the back of the baby's neck nuchal translucency with an ultrasound scan.
This is sometimes called a nuchal translucency scan. The nuchal translucency measurement can be taken during the dating scan. The sonographer will then use a transducer device which uses ultrasound to produce an image of your baby inside the womb to a small display screen next to you. The scan will usually last for around 20 minutes. This will be a lot more accurate than working it out just using the date of your last period.
Your pregnancy and baby guide
Most units will offer you a screening test at the same time. If screening tests show a lower risk, most parents choose not to put themselves, or their unborn baby through further, more invasive tests. What do I need to know? Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing Nuchal Translucency Scan Pregnancy ultrasound scans Rhesus disease and Anti-D injections Testing and screening for chromosome abnormalities X-rays can affect your pregnancy What is a third trimester pregnancy growth scan? What you need to know about a cervical length pregnancy scan 12 week pregnancy dating scan: Deciphering maternity note abbreviations.