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Your 12 Week Scan: What To Expect

Your 12 Week Scan: What To Expect
A mother-to-be marvels at her ultrasound photo, a first glimpse at the life growing inside her.

Known as the “12 week ultrasound” – the Nuchal Translucency Scan is typically offered around 12-14 weeks. This is a scan to check your baby’s development. It also provides data that will go towards your baby’s Nuchal Translucency assessment.

What are they looking for at the 12 week scan?

The sonographer will check over your baby’s anatomy to make sure everything is developing as it should. One of the measurements taken at the 12 week scan is the nuchal translucency. This involves the sonographer measuring the fluid at the back of your baby’s neck. The results of this are combined with a blood test you’ll have done the week before. These will give your provider an understanding of any risk that your baby may have chromosomal anomaly.

During the 12 week scan, the sonographer will also check your uterus, ovaries and the location of your placenta.

How is the 12 week ultrasound done?

The 12 week ultrasound is usually done via the abdomen, but occasionally the sonographer may need to do a transvaginal ultrasound in order to get a good view of your baby.  You will likely need to have a full bladder for this scan as this helps to push the bladder away from your uterus.

Will they assess for Down’s Syndrome at my 12 week scan?

If you have agreed to your baby being screened for chromosomal anomalies, you’ll have had a blood test around a week prior to the 12 week scan. The results of that blood test will be combined with the measurements taken at your 12 week scan to give your provider an understanding of any risk that you may be carrying a baby with Down’s Syndrome.

The scan alone will not tell you whether your baby has Down’s Syndrome.

Will I receive any results after my 12 week scan?

The sonographer will not generally discuss any results with you during the scan – this is normally compiled into a report and combined with the results of your blood test which your provider will discuss with you, if needed, within a few days (depending on your area). If any additional testing is required, your provider will let you know as soon as possible.

Also now that you are in your second trimester Mama, its a great time to start thinking about Prenatal classes. Our FREE prenatal class teaches you all about the baby, decreasing stress, worries and unknowns after you give birth. You can watch at your pace from the comforts of your own home! Sign up here! 

It’s important to note that ultrasounds should be discussed with a healthcare provider to ensure safety and suitability for individual circumstances. This blog is general education only. For any personal based advice regarding you or your baby please seek advice from your own healthcare professional.

  1. American Pregnancy Association. (2022). Ultrasound: Sonogram. American Pregnancy Association.
  2. Bardi, F., Bosschieter, P. F. N., Verheij, J., Go, A. T., Haak, M., Bekker, M. N., Sikkel, E., Coumans, A., Pajkrt, E., & Bilardo, C. M. (2019). Is there still a role for nuchal translucency measurement in the changing paradigm of first trimester screening? Prenatal Diagnosis, 40(2), 197–205.
  3. Carbone, L., Cariati, F., Sarno, L., Conforti, A., Bagnulo, F., Strina, I., Pastore, L., Maruotti, G. M., & Alviggi, C. (2020). Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing: current perspectives and future challenges. Genes, 12(1), 15.
  4. Guraya, S. S. (2013). The Associations of Nuchal translucency and Fetal abnormalities; Significance and Implications. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research.
  5. NHS. (2022, September 16). Ultrasound scans in pregnancy.