Pregnancy is full of doctor’s visits, but one of the most exciting phase of pregnancy week by week is your trip for your 12-week scan. If you’re getting close to this first-trimester mark, you’re about to come one big step closer to your little one.
Whether this is your first or fifth child as a family or couple, the 12 week scan is always exciting. You are able to say hello to your baby for the first time. It is quite brilliant being able to see a human that you are carrying for the first time on a tiny screen. It is something that cannot be missed.
The doctors use the scan as a way to measure your health and the pregnancy. They will have a better idea of how far along you are and how big the baby is. In scans further along the doctors will be able to know whether or not you will need to be induced or have a caesarean for a safe birth.This is another reason as to why scans are important for you and your growing family.
12 First Look at the Baby
For most families, the 12-week ultrasound is the first of just two ultrasounds (the second one is around 18 weeks). Seeing your baby for the first time is an exciting and emotional event – with just 3 months, you may not even be able to feel your baby moving around, although he or she is probably getting pretty active. Seeing your baby on screen is so heartwarming, you’ll probably feel an immediate connection you’ll want to save the ultrasound picture forever.
At 12-weeks pregnancy, the ultrasound technician should be able to give you a good prediction of your baby’s gender. One study showed in 441 pregnancies the technician was able to identify the gender of the baby correctly 92 percent of the time at 12 weeks, and waiting just one more week increased it to 98.3 percent. Not bad. The 12-week scan will give you a good idea whether you’re tiny human will be male or female.
10 Baby's Size
Although you might not be as interested in your baby’s size as you are in being able to see him or her for the first time, the technician will measure your baby to find the crown-rump length, which is just a fancy way of saying from their head to their tush. This will give you and your doctor a better estimate of your baby’s actual age. Besides, it is kind of cool to know how much space inside your belly they’re already taking up – probably about 2.5 inches!
Incredibly, your baby’s tiny heart already starts forming after just 5 weeks according to the Mayo Clinic. However, it doesn’t start beating right away – it only starts pumping about a week later. At 12-weeks, that little heart has been going at it for a while, and seeing that vital sign of life and health pulls at your heart strings and might make your pulse race just as fast as your babies, which is usually a speedy 120 to 180 bpm.
8 Estimate of the Due Date
Setting a due date isn’t as easy as it sounds – on a basic level, everyone has 9 months imprinted in their brain, so you may think you can calculate it based on your last period. However, Baby Centre reminds expecting mothers conception only happens 14 days after your last menstrual period, and sometimes a bit later. In any case, the 12-week scan is more accurate so the technician will be able to help you set a more definitive mark on your calendar for the big day.
Since you can see your baby through the ultrasound you’ll also be able to see if there are any more surprises and bundles of love – if you are having twins or triplets, or even more babies, you’ll be able to see on the ultrasound.This is life changing technology. One of my friends is a twin and they did not use this technology when he was born. It was quite a surprise to his parents and brothers when he and his sister were born. Remember, twins are twice the delight and twice the money. You will want to be better prepared.
6 Baby’s Limbs
How many times have you seen parents in movies counting their baby’s fingers and toes – it might seem strange to an outsider, but as a parent, you desperately want your baby to come out in one piece with all their fingers, toes, and limbs. In this scan, you’ll be able to rest assured all the basics are there – legs, arms, and you may even be able to glimpse those tiny fingers waving back at you.
5 Nuchal Translucency
You might be surprised to find out your little one has a bit of fluid in the back of their neck, which doctors call nuchal translucency. Technicians can see it in an ultrasound, and it can be an important predictor of Down’s syndrome. Some liquid is totally normal, but babies with Down syndrome tend to have more. According to Insider Radiology, this screening test is about 75 percent accurate by itself, but to be sure other tests, like a blood test, can increase accuracy. This test is optional, though.
4 Fetal Nasal Bone
At 12-weeks, you should be able to see your little one’s nose, even if it does just look like I cute, tiny bump. Checking for the nose and the small arc that shows the sign of a definite nose can also help technicians see a risk for Down’s syndrome. Studies show it’s very reliable, and may help give parents a better idea of the risks without having to do an invasive procedure. However, keep in mind different ethnicities may have different bone lengths, so even if you can’t see it yourself, your technician will be able to tell whether your baby’s nose is normal or not.
3 Health of the Placenta
The ultrasound will show the position of your placenta, which by now has fully developed to support your baby throughout the pregnancy. This is an important time to check and make sure everything is developing normally, and to detect any potential problems or risks. If your placenta is enlarged, for example, your doctor will know to keep an eye on it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should worry.
2 Blood Circulation
The technician may also check to make sure your blood circulation is normal in your uterus. This is just to make sure the blood flow is regular and bringing all the nutrients your baby needs. The nutrients, oxygen and life support come through your umbilical cord and its blood vessels. To put it simply bad circulation means not as many blood vessels which leads to less oxygen, nutrients and other necessities.
1 Baby’s Bladder and Stomach
Although teeny tiny, the ultrasound technician should be able to identify the baby’s bladder and stomach and check for abnormalities.
As you can tell from the above information, scans are quite critical and vital when it comes to the care of your baby or babies. They provide life altering information and life changing news. You are never pressured to learn the sex of the baby during the scans. If knowing that is why you refuse the scans, then inform the doctor you do not want to know the sex. I agree that not knowing the sex of your baby is one of life’s unknown mysteries. Otherwise attend your scans. They are vital for you and your doctor and most of all your unborn baby. Do it for them.
Get ready for the big reveal, but try not to be too nervous – the 12-week scan is completely routine, and although some people stress about testing for a normal pregnancy, most women walk away feeling wonderful and happy to know more about the tiny human inside their baby bump.