What to expect from dating scan

This is a measurement of the amount of fluid at the base of the baby's neck and it can indicate a higher risk of Down's syndrome.Not all areas offer this test as routine but when it is offered it is usually done at the 12-week scan.You're under no obligation to have these, and they do usually carry a small risk of miscarriage as they are invasive.These pregnancy scans pose no risk at all to either you or your baby.Occasionally, if they can't see what they need to, the sonographer may ask you to have a transvaginal scan, where a very thin probe is used to look at the baby from close to the cervix. You will be able to watch the monitor and see the first pictures of your baby, which is always an extraordinary moment, whether this is your first baby or your fifth.It may not be immediately obvious which parts of your baby you're looking at, but the sonographer will be able to help you work it out.This will give you a more precise estimated due date.Are you expecting just one baby, or could it be twins or (gulp) even more?

You may find at this scan your due date is altered on your notes.NICE recommends it's done between 10 weeks and 13 weeks.You will have had earlier appointments and may have had an early scan if you've had any concerns such as bleeding, but otherwise this is the first time you'll get to see your baby, so it's a real milestone in your pregnancy.Before the scan you will be asked to drink a lot of water and have a full bladder, as this puts the uterus in a better position to be scanned.This can be something of an uncomfortable challenge if your sonographer has particularly long waiting times.

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It's more common to be told you're less far along than you thought you were, rather than that you're actually further along in the pregnancy.

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