Looking at your baby’s anatomy takes time, diligence and skill. Despite the latest machines and the efforts of our highly trained staff every baby brings challenges. Early in pregnancy, babies are very small and unpredictable. Like us, they have periods when they are moving and others when they are resting. We do like to see babies moving during a scan as it can be a sign that the nerves and muscles are working. However, movement can affect the clarity and detail we see in the images, so it is often easier to get clear pictures when they are still. It is impossible to predict if your baby is going to be cooperative during the scan, so patience is important.
Try not to book a scan and expect to rush straight to another appointment
Your baby may have other plans for the day. We take our jobs very seriously and aim to assess each baby as comprehensively as possible. Not all problems can be detected on scan, but with diligence and persistence we can detect many issues. For example, if baby is lying face up towards the ultrasound then we get much clearer images of the babies face and heart. While the spine and skin of the back are better seen with the baby lying face down.
Ideally, we only want to scan you and your baby for a limited time each visit
It can be uncomfortable on the examination beds and sometimes we know based on what we see that baby is just not going to cooperate. This might mean we send you for a walk or ask you to come back another day. This does not mean we think there is an issue but we want to optimize the likelihood of detection if there is a problem.
We may ask you to drink fluid before your scan
Sometimes your bladder can help in the ultrasound beam penetrating to the baby. Other times, the bladder can be a hindrance. Please check with our staff if you are unsure.
Wearing loose clothing can be helpful so that you are comfortable
Ultrasound gel does not stain. It can make your clothes look wet until it dries, so think about what you will wear on the day and where you are heading after the scan. We ask you to bring your top up on your chest or you skirt or trousers down to your hips to allow us to scan the baby from different angles. Think about whether your clothes will put pressure on you. We want to you relax and enjoy your scan.
Remember, most scans are requested because your Doctor or Midwife has a question to answer
Is my pregnancy progressing? Is my baby’s anatomy developing as expected? Is the baby too big or too small? Every mother hopes everything will be OK but sometimes life can take an unexpected turn and the same applies to ultrasound scans. Even though we hope all is well, just consider what if something unexpected occurs. Think through all possible scenarios that the visit may bring. If something unexpected is found who do you want with you? The answer should influence who you bring on the day. We understand that seeing the baby again can be very exciting. We will ensure you get plenty of images and clips of the scan. You are then in control of when and who you share the findings with.