What to expect from dating scan

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The sonographer will put ultrasound gel on your partner’s tummy and use a handheld device called a probe over the skin.

It is this probe that sends out the ultrasound waves and picks them up when they bounce back.

There are no known risks to ultrasound scans in pregnancy.

However, this is different from saying they are proven to be safe – the reality is that they have been used widely in medical practice for 50 years, with no conclusive evidence of adverse side effects.

The other risk around scans is the risk itself of finding a concern (conclusive or not) which may cause distress and anxiety.

Further tests may be offered as a result, such as amniocentesis, which can carry their own risks including miscarriage.

While routine scans can be reassuring, it is also important to balance them with the understanding that they cannot diagnose everything.

If you decide not to have any scans, it does not affect you receiving any other antenatal care.It allows the sonographer to look specifically for 11 conditions, some of which are very rare.The sonographer will also be looking at what is around baby - the amount of amniotic fluid, the cord flow and where the placenta is positioned.Some abnormalities may also be detected at this scan, such as neural tube defects.The dating scan can include a nuchal translucency (NT) scan if it is done before 14 weeks.

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