Ultrasound during pregnancy

An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your baby inside your womb.

Enquiries & Appointments

Ultrasound on pregnant lady

What is a pregnancy ultrasound?

An ultrasound scan sends sound waves through your womb (uterus), these waves bounce off your baby as echoes. The echoes are recorded and translated into an image on a screen that will show your baby, how its positioned and its movements.

Ultrasound scans are painless and have no side effects, you can have a scan at any stage of your pregnancy however scans are generally offered at:

  • 10 - 14 weeks, first trimester scan, also known as the 12 week scan
  • 18 - 21 weeks, second trimester scan
  • 34 - 36 weeks, third trimester scan, this scan is not always routinely offered

About having an ulstound when pregnant

There is no anaesthetic needed for an ultrasound scan, and you don't usually need to prepare.

Your scan will be carried out by a sonographer. They will ask you to lie down before applying a gel to your tummy. They will then move a handheld device called a transducer around your tummy, pressing down gently.

Sometimes a bit of extra pressure is needed to get a clearer image of the baby, but this shouldn't cause any discomfort. You'll then see images of your baby on a computer screen while your sonographer or consultant talks you through everything you see.

An ultrasound scans normally take around 20 minutes.
Scans are simple procedures that don't usually require any preparation, but your consultant will let you know if there's anything that you should do beforehand. Sometimes, having a full bladder can help the scan produce clearer images of your baby.

A full bladder lifts the bowel and helps the ultrasound's sound waves to reach your womb. If you want to, you can bring your partner or a friend with you for your appointment.
Once your scan is complete, your sonographer will be able to answer any questions you have. They will talk to you about the scan and explain the next steps for your future scans. You'll be given a DVD and CD with images of your baby for you to take home and share with your friends and family.

Our locations

The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London
Lister Fertility Clinic

Lister Fertility Clinic

Chelsea Bridge Road SW1W 8RH London