Ultrasound pregnancy scans

Pregnant woman having an ultrasound scan

Ultrasound pregnancy scans

Ultrasound pregnancy scans are offered across all of our hospital sites and are used to check for potential specific conditions or physical problems. Some scans may also take place in the radiology departments.

When coming for your scan:

  • please make sure that you have a full bladder
  • read all of the information sent to you in your appointment letter
  • one adult can come with you into the scan room (children are not able to attend ultrasound scan appointments).

Scan appointments usually take between 15 to 30 minutes however sometimes it may take longer if your bladder isn't full or your baby is in a position that makes it difficult to obtain clear views.

During your pregnancy you will be offered two routine ultrasound scans which are:

Dating/nuchal scan: usually performed between 11+2-14+1 weeks of pregnancy. This scan enables us to provide a more accurate due date for your baby. We will also take some measurements required for screening if you have chosen to have this during the scan. If you have chosen to have combined screening, the fluid at the back of baby's neck is also measured. Your baby's heartbeat is also checked we will check how many babies there are, and will take measurements to estimate how many weeks pregnant you are. 

Anomaly scan: usually performed around 20 weeks (18+0 to 20+6) and is performed to identify abnormalities and enable further discussion and decision making, however the test does not pick up all problems. The scan also checks the position of the placenta. If you wish to know the sex of your baby this can often be determined at this stage. Unfortunately, we are unable to write down the sex of your baby on paper.

It’s important to be aware that ultrasound scanning is a form of screening and is done to perform important checks on the health and development of your baby.

Additional scans during your pregnancy

Your midwife or consultant may ask you to attend for additional scans during your pregnancy, these may include:

  • Early Pregnancy Assessment Scan (EPAU) is often performed for early pregnancy problems, such as vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain and also for those who experience recurrent miscarriage. This is usually done at our Gynaecology Assessment Unit

  • Gowth scans - your doctor or midwife might suggest additional pregnancy growth scan(s) to ensure that your baby is developing as expected.