Approaching the end of your first trimester (11-13 weeks)? Your baby has done most of the complicated developmental work and is concentrating on increasing in size and weight. His heart is fully formed and even little teeth are growing inside his gums. Hopefully, you are through the worst of your morning sickness and exhaustion is easing, and you are excited to book your first ultrasound scan and share the good news with friends and family.
What is an ultrasound?
An ultrasound is a hugely exciting moment in any pregnancy. It’s the chance for you and your partner to see your baby for the very first time, see his or her heartbeat, their arms and legs, and allow the pregnancy to feel real.
Scans are carried out by specially trained staff called sonographers. For the scan you will need to lie down and reveal your tummy. The sonographer will put ultrasound gel on your tummy to ease contact between the machine and your skin. The sonographer passes a probe over your skin, which sends out ultrasound waves and picks them up when they bounce back. The machine processes these waves and turns them into a picture of your beautiful baby. A sonography scan is completely harmless to you and to your baby.
Before the scan you will be asked to drink a lot of water and have a full bladder, as this puts the uterus in a better position to be scanned. This can be something of an uncomfortable challenge if your sonographer has particularly long waiting times, so be prepared.
During the scan you will be able to watch the monitor and see the first pictures of your baby, which is always an extraordinary moment, whether this is your first baby or your fifth. Most hospitals will allow you to have somebody with you in the room, so it’s a great opportunity to share this experience with your partner and often their first time to feel they are a part of the pregnancy. After the scan most hospitals and clinics will offer you a photo of the scan for an additional fee.
The scan usually takes around 20-30 minutes.
What does an ultrasound check for?
Your sonographer may be able to tell if you have a baby boy or girl growing inside you, but most likely this is too early. That will happen (if you choose) at the 20-week anomaly scan.
NHS offering for pregnant women
Hospitals in England offer all pregnant women at least two ultrasound scans during their pregnancy – the first at 8 to 14 weeks and a second between 18 and 21 weeks.
Scans are offered at hospital radiology departments and sometimes at GP surgeries or clinics.
NHS sonographies may provide a photo of the scan, but a fee is applicable.
Benefits of pregnancy scans with VisitHealth
Your immune system is lower when pregnant so you will tend to pick up every cold and bug doing the rounds. To have the scan from the comfort of your home means no trips to a crowded hospital filled with sickness. A VisitHealth sonographer can come to a place of your choice, and work around you in a suitable space in your comfort zone.
Exhaustion and sickness may have subsided by the time your first scan is due, but for many mothers this is not the case. A sonography scan can be done from your bed if you feel too exhausted to get up. Morning sickness can be a tiring and distressing ordeal even in your own home. At least with a home sonography you don’t have to face the world when you feel this way.
Before your ultrasound you will need to drink lots of water because a full bladder puts the uterus in a better position to be scanned. In its current state, the NHS is renowned for delays and long waiting times which is the last thing you want as a pregnant mother with a full bladder. Knowing the exact time of your ultrasound, and with a comfy chair to sit on, plus tap and toilet nearby, a home ultrasound certainly goes a long way to easing the discomfort.
The VisitHealth sonographer will provide you with a photo of your scan, free of charge. This photo, along with full details of the scan, will be emailed so you can discuss the scan results further with your doctor if you wish, and a digital copy of the scan photo means you can share the moment with family and friends.
Pregnancy ultrasound scans in the comfort of your home, with a specialist sonographer, start from £159 with VisitHealth. If you are approaching the date for your pregnancy scan, call VisitHealth today. Appointments are available Monday to Thursday 07:00 – 22:00, Friday to Sunday 06:00 – midnight.