Dating scan pregnancy
When you go for a pregnancy scan, the sonographer (a specialist trained in ultrasound scans) puts ultrasound gel on your tummy and then moves a handheld probe across your skin.
While the gel might be a bit cold, the scans are completely painless.
You might see your baby doing things such as sucking their thumb, stretching, yawning and kicking.
You should also be able to find out the sex, and usually get a selection of pictures and, in the case of 4D scans, video to take home.
The best time to do a 3D or 4D scan is usually towards the end of your second trimester or at start of your third trimester (around 26-32 weeks).
Before 26 weeks your baby hasn’t put on a lot of fat and so will look very skinny and the bones of the face will show through, and after around 32 weeks your baby is more squeezed up and running out of space, so it’s harder to get clear pictures.
It’s also sometimes referred to as the NT (nuchal translucency) scan.
The test can’t tell for sure whether your baby has Down’s syndrome or another similar condition but can identify whether they’re at risk.
Feeling anxious about your baby is quite natural during the early stages of your pregnancy and if you have any concerns you should consult your midwife first.This scan can be reassuring if you’ve had a previous miscarriage or are feeling very worried.However, it’s important to note that if you experience any problems like pain or bleeding early in your pregnancy you should always contact your GP, midwife or the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) first – they might be able to give you a scan without you having to pay to have it done privately and also do other checks to make sure you and your baby are healthy.Not all problems can be detected by the anomaly scan, but if the sonographer sees any cause for concern, you’ll be told there and then.As well as the routine NHS scans, there are several different types of private scan that you might consider.