The 12 week ultrasound is a very important scan for a lot of reasons. Not only is it the dating scan, you get to know a lot of important things regarding the health of you and your baby. Plus, you also get to have cool Instagram worthy pictures to flaunt off your pregnancy announcement!
So, without further ado, lets cover the 12 week ultrasound comprehensively.
What’s an Ultrasound?
Ultrasound is a diagnostic investigation. That is a test that helps the doctors to diagnose a specific disorder. And in some cases, it also aids in treatment too.
Ultrasound uses sound waves at really high frequencies. Which means definitely you cannot hear them! So, are they safe in pregnancy? Absolutely!
These high frequency sound waves hit against the parts of the baby’s body. And then bounce back and are picked up by the machine. In this way your doctor or health care provider is able to appreciate the size, position, and body parts, as well as malformations or deformity (if any).
Pregnancy and Ultrasound
After figuring out what an ultrasound is, you would be wondering why need one when I’m expecting? Ultrasound is really important in pregnancy. Some of the major uses of having an ultrasound in pregnancy are listed below.
· To Confirm Pregnancy
Although the urine pregnancy test does accurately tell you about your pregnancy status, it is not a reliable test. The presence of a yolk sac, as seen by the ultrasound scan, is the confirmation you need to know that there is actually a bun in your oven!
· Status of Your Reproductive Tract
An ultrasound also helps to let your doctor or health care provider know about the status of your reproductive tract. We have to make sure those ovaries are okay! Apart from that, it also lets you know if there is any problem in the fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina or in the surrounding soft tissues.
For this purpose, the radiologist may ask you to come with a full bladder. As this allows your doctor to have a better look at your ovaries.
State of the Fetus
As we saw above, ultrasound scan provides info about how your baby is doing inside your womb. This includes their position, size, body parts and gender. It also tells if you’re expecting more than one bundle of joy. That is, if you’re welcoming twins or triplets, or even more!
· Birth Defects
Ultrasonography is very important for this purpose. You may be asking yourself, what are these birth defects? Birth defects or congenital anomalies are malformations in the development of the growing fetus.
Using an ultrasound can help detect most, (but not all) of these defects.
To Aid in Other Tests
Ultrasound is not only useful alone. It also aids in other investigations. Ultrasound-guided aspiration of amniotic fluid (amniocentesis) and chorionic-villus sampling (a test in which a small bit of placenta is removed guided by USG), are some examples. These tests help to detect abnormalities prenatally.
All You Need to Know About 12 Week Ultrasound
Ultrasound is an important part of antenatal (before birth) care of a mummy to be. Right from the moment you discover there is a pea in your pod, you instantly become overwhelmed with this protective mama bear feeling. And everything you do from that moment onwards prioritizes your soon to be guest!
This includes regular check ups from the moment your pregnancy is confirmed. Scans are done at different times throughout this period of nine months. The 12 week ultrasound scan is technically the last scan of your first trimester. Its basically a way of telling you, “Yay! Three months down, six more to go!”
Things to Look Out for in the 12 Week Ultrasound?
The 12 week ultrasound, like other scans, looks out for the following things
- Number of babies. You never know if there was a twin that managed to escape the scan last time!
- Fetal wellbeing. This includes size, position, parts of the body.
- Dating Scan. The 12 week ultrasound is the often known as the dating scan. As it calculates the expected date of delivery by measuring the length of your baby. From their crown to rump, also known as the crown rump length.
Does the 12 Week Ultrasound Screen for Downs Syndrome?
The anomaly scan is normally the scan performed at 20 weeks. However, if you have provided consent for early screening of Downs syndrome, then that will be done during the 12 week ultrasound.
The early screening for Downs syndrome takes place between 10 and 14 weeks. To rule out the risk of Downs syndrome in your baby, your doctor will take a blood sample too at this visit. So, what is the role of ultrasound here?
The ultrasound detects the thickness of the fluid column present behind your baby’s spine. This is known as nuchal translucency. An increased nuchal translucency from normal values means there is an increased risk of Downs syndrome.
How to Prepare for the 12 Week Ultrasound?
By now we know what the 12 week ultrasound is all about. Which is why, we move to the next step. That is preparing for the scan.
You can start at home, by wearing loose clothing the day you’re checking in with your doctor. You can also bring in your partner. It’s always good to have a hand to hold on to. As its natural for you to be anxious.
As we mentioned earlier, it is necessary to have a full bladder. To confirm the status of your ovaries and reproductive tract. So, you may not want to attend natures call before the scan. Or keep a bottle of water or juice with you.
The most important step is to relax your mind. The gel applied to your tummy may feel cold and a bit weird, frankly speaking. But try to remain as calm as possible.
Your doctor will place and slightly press the transducer of the machine against your tummy. But this is not a painful process. They may also place the transducer inside your vagina. The entire process will take not more than 15 to 30 minutes.
And voila, you’re done for the day. Happy 12th week scanning!