Ultrasound Scan at 12 Weeks of Pregnancy

12 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound

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When you are pregnant, every moment is fun and exciting. You are curious to know how your baby is developing. The pregnancy ultrasound at 12 weeks is the last ultrasound scan of the first trimester, and you will be excited to know about your baby’s progress. This ultrasound scan will answer a lot of your questions about the baby’s health and well-being.

Why Do You Need an Ultrasound Scan at 12 Weeks?

Completing 12 weeks of pregnancy is an important milestone as it marks the completion of your first trimester, and your doctor may advise you to have an ultrasound scan to assess how your pregnancy is progressing. Here are a few things that your doctor will check in the 12 weeks ultrasound scan.

  • Like the previous scans, this scan helps to know the number of babies you are carrying, whether a single baby, twins or more.
  • It helps in establishing your baby’s gestational age by measuring the baby from crown to rump.
  • To check the foetal heartbeat.
  • To have a look at the baby’s arms, legs, chest, and head and assess if they are growing at a normal pace. true
  • The doctor will check the foetal spine as well to check for any abnormalities.
  • To measure nuchal translucency, which is the fluid under the foetal skin at the back of the neck.
  • The assessment of nuchal translucency helps in establishing any risk of chromosomal abnormality.
  • It will help the doctor to establish the health and the position of the placenta.

How to Prepare for Your 12th Week Scan

You may be jittery and wonder what will happen during the scan. The first thing that you can do is to prepare yourself mentally for the scan. The cold and slimy gel may make you feel uncomfortable, but try to be calm and relaxed.

A pregnant woman getting an ultrasound

How Long Does This Ultrasound Scan Take?

You will be made to lie down in a peaceful room with dim lights. The entire scanning process at 12 weeks of pregnancy may take 15 to 30 minutes approximately.

How Is the 12th Week Ultrasound Scan Performed?

The doctor will apply a gel on your abdominal region and move the transducer device on your tummy. A black and white image will appear on the screen, and you can ask your doctor to explain it to you. It is normal to feel some pressure on your abdominal region, but it is not painful.

If you are overweight or your womb is too deep in your pelvis, then your doctor may recommend a vaginal scan.

What Can Be Seen in the Scan?

The following things can be observed about your baby by performing 12 weeks ultrasound scan:

  • The position of the mother’s placenta.
  • Baby’s limbs and spine.
  • Presence or absence of the foetal nasal bone and its length.
  • Urinary bladder and stomach of the foetus.
  • The blood circulation around the mother’s uterus region.

During the 12-week ultrasound, your doctor can also spot twins, which means if you are carrying more than one baby, the ultrasound scan will help your doctor determine the same.

Can Down Syndrome Be Accurately Detected in the 12th Week Ultrasound Scan?

Yes, if your baby is suffering from Down Syndrome, it can be detected in a 12-week ultrasound. If the baby has down syndrome, then there will be more accumulation of fluid at the nuchal fold, which is at the base of the baby’s neck. If your doctor suspects it, then the nuchal transparency test may be performed. Babies with Down Syndrome will have a thicker measurement in comparison to a healthy foetus.

What If Any Abnormalities Are Detected on the Scan?

The 12-week pregnancy scan may be your first scan to establish the foetal growth and development. However, this scan also helps your doctor to assess any foetal abnormality. In case your baby is detected with any defect or abnormality, then you may be referred to a foetal medicine consultant. The consultant assesses the diagnosis made by your doctor and may ask you to undergo further tests or scans to confirm the abnormality.

Is This Scan a Part of Pregnancy Care?

Ultrasound scans are a great way of assessing your baby’s growth and development. These scans are affordable, non-invasive, and low risk. They are essential as they give you and your doctor a lot of information about your baby and you can also get 12-week ultrasound pictures. However, it is entirely up to the parents to take a call whether they want to go in for 12-week ultrasound scan or not. Most hospitals will give you the pictures of your ultrasound scan, and some of them may even give you a video of the scan. You can check with your doctor if this service is available.

Some parents are of the opinion that ultrasound scans should not be done. The main reason for this is that they will be put in a difficult position of making a decision to continue or abort the pregnancy, in case any foetal defect or abnormality is established.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • When you’re going for an ultrasound scan, remember to wear loose clothing so that it is easy for the doctor to access your belly.
  • If you have any questions for your doctor, writing them down would be helpful.
  • If you want a picture of the scan, you can contact the hospital in advance to ask if this service is provided.
  • Ask your doctor what kind of help is available in terms of prenatal classes or in case of an emergency. This can help you prepare for your baby’s birth and put your mind at ease.

Resources & References: Parents, Mayo Clinic

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