What happens at a dating scan

At this first scan, you can ask for a picture of the baby to be taken during the scan, but be prepared to pay a small fee as most hospitals charge for this.

The first scan is an exciting and emotional time for a mums and dads-to-be.

Scans are a medical screening tests which are offered to all pregnant women, but there is a choice about whether you accept them or not – they are not a requirement.

Some people want to find out if there are any problems or concerns within the pregnancy so they can be prepared and have more options; others feel that the result won’t change how they feel or their choice of actions, so they don’t need to know and therefore don’t need the test.

For some women in Ireland this will be the only scan they are offered as a public patient.

Examples include if you have irregular menstrual cycles or long menstrual cycles, or if you became pregnant directly after a miscarriage or after extended breastfeeding without menstruating.Ultrasound was originally developed during WWII to detect enemy submarines, and was then subsequently used in the steel industry before being adapted for use in the medical arena.Ultrasound scans use high frequency echoes from sound waves, which bounce off the baby and are translated into a computer image showing the baby’s size, position and movement.Pregnancy ultrasounds are performed mainly using transabdominal ultrasound.For many women, especially after 8 weeks gestation, sufficient information about the baby may be obtained with transabdominal ultrasound only.Transvaginal ultrasound usually produces better and clearer images of the female pelvic organs including the developing pregnancy, because the ultrasound probe lies closer to these structures.

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