The nine months of pregnancy have something different to offer as an experience, not just in every trimester or even every month, but almost every week. From the time you found out that you were pregnant, there’s a whole lot of growing, development and changes that are happening inside your body, most of which you will not even be aware of. As you progress in your pregnancy, month after month, you’ll notice that apart from a growing bump, your moods are changing, your cravings are different and most importantly, there are a lot of physical changes too.
Your first big milestone will be your 12th week, which officially also means that you have completed the troublesome first trimester. With this milestone, you could expect all the nausea and uneasiness to go away, but sometimes, they just continue. This is also the time when you’ll be due for your 12th week scan. Let’s find out more about it.
Even though it’s very popularly referred to as the ‘12th week scan’, yet, it can happen anytime between your 11th to 14th week. This is the scan that’ll help you see your baby and allow for your ob/gyn to take a closer look at the growth and tell how everything is progressing.
This ultrasound scan will help your ob/gyn take a much closer look at the baby. The first thing your doctor would be looking for is a heartbeat. The normal heart rate for your unborn baby at 12 weeks is 150, but it could vary slightly. This scan also detects if you are having multiples - twins, triplets etc. Single heartbeat denotes one baby, and the more heartbeats detected, the more the babies!
This scan also helps your doctor determine the baby’s gestational age and therefore give you a more concrete due date as well. It’s done by measuring your baby’s CRL or crown-rump length, which is the baby’s length from the crown of their head to the bottom of their buttocks. It is this CRL that helps determine the gestational age. This CRL ideally should be in the range of 45 to 85mm approximately.
Another reason why this scan is crucial is that this will also help check whether the baby’s anatomy is in place. The brain, the limbs, heart, kidney etc are measured and checked during this scan.
This scan is essential to check the position of the placenta to indicate placental conditions like placenta previa so that adequate precautions can be taken.
If you are worried about this scan being painful and tedious, then relax. This is going to be just a routine scan, mostly abdominal. The technician will apply some jelly to your bump and use a device to help scan. It’s easier if you wear loose-fitting clothes.
In some cases, where the uterus is lying low, or the baby is in an odd position or maternal obesity, the doctor might ask for a vaginal scan as it helps take a closer look at the baby.
Remember to drink lots of water so that the uterus is clearly visible.
You will also have to go through another scan called the nuchal translucency scan, which is carried out to check if your baby has any chromosomal abnormality, which can cause several conditions like Down's Syndrome. This scan will also be an ultrasound scan to check the thickness of your baby’s nuchal fold, or the fold behind their neck. Together with the results of this scan, blood tests and other screening results through the first trimester, your ob/gyn will be able to give you a clearer picture. In case the results are not normal, you might be asked to opt for chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis. In this case, the doctor will explain the risks associated with these diagnostic tests.
Going by all the things that the 12th-week scan helps indicate, make sure you get it done in time. It’s best to take a trusted family member or friend with you. Even though it won’t take very long for the test to get done, factor some time so that your routine doesn’t go haywire.
The PCPNDT Act prohibits the determination of the gender of the fetus. It is illegal and will not be performed at the Birthplace.