How do ultrasounds work? How often will I need one? What exactly does a scan tell us? These are all questions you may be wanting to ask if you’re a mummy to be. Well don’t panic because here I have your guide to to ultrasound pregnancy scans.
How do ultrasounds work?
Ultrasounds are extremely exciting things, after all It’s where you get to see your baby for the very first time. But how do they work? Well, prepare yourself, because this is where it gets technical.
The device the sonographer holds against your bump is called a transducer. This sends high frequency sound waves in your abdomen, where your baby’s tucked away. These waves bounce off your baby and back to the computer to be translated into a picture, that’s what comes out as the white area.
The scan will usually take around 20 minutes to complete and will be carried out in a dimly lit room.
12 Week Scan
The first scan is important because it will determine what date your baby is due based on the baby’s measurements. All women will be offered their first scan between 8 – 14 weeks. In conjunction with your 12 week scan, you may also be offered a nuchal scan. This will tell you if you are at risk of having a baby with Downs Syndrome. The doctor will use the scan measurement, your age and a blood test to calculate your risk.
The anomaly scan is also offered to all women at 18-21 weeks. This is a detailed scan which will be able to tell if your baby is developing properly as well as picking up on any problems or abnormalities.
After 20 Weeks
Most women will only need a total of two scans throughout their pregnancy, however, if there are certain complications or there is any history of birth defects in your family then you may be offered more.
Should I get a 3D or 4D Scan?
You may have noticed lots of mothers to be these days getting 3D or 4D scans. 3D scans will provide you with still pictures of your baby in three dimensions. 4D scans show moving 3D images of your baby, with time being the fourth dimension.
The 3D and 4D scans can be expensive and are not offered on the NHS. For this reason, many parents choose not to get one done.
However, these types of scans are said to be able to give you a real insight into what your baby is going to look like when It’s born.
It’s really down to the personal preference of the parents so feel free to ask the hospital what’s available to you.