Ultrasound during pregnancy

A scan to see your baby inside your womb

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

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

  • What happens during a pregnancy ultrasound? icon plus

    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.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    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.
  • After an ultrasound icon plus

    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 obstetricians

We're proud to work with leading maternity experts, who specialise in obstetrics pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and after birth.

Their skills are matched by their integrity and compassion and support for the choices of each individual mother.

Our locations

From consultant-led and midwife-led delivery services to ultrasound scans and pregnancy tests, we provide exceptional maternity care throughout the HCA Healthcare UK network

Request an appointment

Please contact us to book for a pregnancy scan, including an ultrasound.

020 7390 6350
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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