12 week ultrasound allows your healthcare provider to see how your baby is developing and check for conditions such as Down syndrome. Your doctor can also determine when you will be born and how many babies you will have with this test. The baby’s external genitalia are growing, so your healthcare provider can determine the sex of your baby.
Twelve weeks is the end of the first trimester of pregnancy when all of your baby’s vital organs and systems are developing. During 12 weeks, the baby’s organs and procedures are fully formed. A 12-week ultrasound may be the first time you see your baby in most cases.
What is an ultrasound?
Ultrasound is a method of imaging that uses energy from sound waves to create images inside your body. During the ultrasound, the transmitter sends sound waves to your body, which return to read. These waves subsequently target the body’s tissues, fluids, and bones.The signals return and produce images that can help diagnose the condition or measure inside the body.
Why 12 weeks?
A 12-week ultrasound will help your doctor ensure you are getting the proper care for the rest of your pregnancy. It also provides them:
- Expected date
- Information on the expected number of children
- Information on the possibility of certain genetic disorders
Traditionally, your doctor may not recommend ultrasound before 12 weeks unless you are at high risk of developing certain pregnancy complications. However, today’s doctors may recommend an ultrasound after 6 or 7 weeks – so this may not be the first time you have seen your baby on the big screen.
However, at 12 weeks, your baby will be so old that your doctor will look for helpful information that may not be obvious.
Importance of ultrasound.
Although what your healthcare provider might see in this early stage of pregnancy is limited, a 12-week ultrasound can be used to:
- Estimate gestational age and date of birth.
- Screening for certain disorders such as Down syndrome
- Counting fetuses.
- Check your baby’s heart rate.
- Avoid ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilized egg is placed outside the uterus)
While most women have an ultrasound – one at 12 weeks and the other at 20 weeks – there is only one that your healthcare provider can do. If the ultrasound is done once, it will be at 20 weeks of gestation:
- Observe fetal position, movement, and heart rate.
- Estimate the size and weight of your baby.
- The amount of amniotic fluid in the uterus should be checked.
- Find the location of the umbilical cord.
- Check the number of fetuses.
- Assessment of congenital disabilities.
What do you hope for in your appointment?
A 12-week ultrasound is usually an outpatient examination. (In some cases, an internal investigation – also known as a vaginal examination – may be necessary if an external review does not provide a clear picture.)
You will lie down on the exam table, and the ultrasound technician will apply a clear gel to your lower abdomen. After that, they will use a stick on the area to show a picture of your members on the screen. They can also take short recordings of your baby’s heartbeat.
The test should take about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your child’s condition. It shouldn’t hurt – but depending on how long you’ve been holding your urine or being asked to stay in certain positions, you may be asked to move for a minute and rest again. If May is needed, it may be possible!
Ultrasound is based on sound waves and does not use radiation like X-rays. There is no current research to suggest that ultrasound is harmful to the developing fetus.
However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends sticking to medically necessary ultrasounds. In normal pregnancies, this includes a 12-week ultrasound and a 20-week post-mortem.
If your pregnancy is more complicated, your doctor may prescribe more ultrasounds.
What will you see?
During the 12 week ultrasound, your doctor will do the following:
- Estimation of gestational age and date of birth (if this is your first ultrasound)
- Screening for some chromosomal disorders, such as Down syndrome
- Count the number of embryos (mono, twins, etc.)
- Listen to your baby’s heartbeat.
Although you may be curious to know the sex of your baby, you may not be able to see it on screen right now. You will have to wait until the autopsy (approximately 20 weeks) for more detailed information about your baby’s organ development.
What happens during a 12-week ultrasound?
Your healthcare provider will likely perform a gastric ultrasound, which transmits the waves through your stomach. In some cases, transvaginal ultrasound can take more explicit or detailed images. The scan usually takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
During a gastric ultrasound, you will be asked to stand at an examination table – either in the operating room or in your healthcare provider’s office – with your stomach open from your sheep to your feet. You may be asked to come to your appointment with a full bladder, which forms a window in your uterine area.
When the test is ready to begin, your healthcare provider will apply an ultrasound gel to your skin to help drive the sound waves. It will help improve the quality of the images produced by the ultrasound. Your healthcare provider will then put a little pressure on the hand-held ultrasound transducer to move your stomach back and forth. It should not be painful, although you may have some discomfort associated with it.
They may stand on certain stomach parts to take specific pictures or measurements. Measurements will be composed of different parts of the baby’s body and uterus. Your baby’s heartbeat may be recorded briefly.
During a transvaginal ultrasound, you may be asked to undress below the waist, or you may be asked to wear hospital clothes. Unlike gastric ultrasound, you will be asked to empty your bladder before the test begins.
When you are ready to start the test, you will be asked to stretch your legs towards the test table, just as you would for a morale test. A rod-shaped transducer with a protective sheath enters through the organ to allow an internal view of the uterus. It shouldn’t be painful, but you may feel uncomfortable during the mood test.
Ultrasound may give you some basic information about your baby, but a detailed report will later when a radiologist examines it. Your healthcare provider will discuss the results with you.