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by Anna

Strike a pose (dating scan) (week 12-15)

The day for Little One's first photoshoot has finally arrived.

As you know from previous blogs Daddy and I have been quite eager for this day to arrive. A whole mix of excitement and nerves.

By the time I was in the waiting room any anxieties about the baby had changed to anxieties about my bladder. I had diligently drank copious amounts of water (as instructed) and was crossing my legs. I hoped the appointments were running to time.

Fortunately we were called in promptly.

I have to confess that I have often seen other people’s scans and nodded enthusiastically when they point out which smudge is the head etc when actually I am just seeing ink blots.

On went the jelly, the scanner, a bit of adjustment… and there s/he was on the screen and it wasn’t what I expected.

From Daddy and my calculations (along with those of our GP and booking midwife) we thought Little One was 12 weeks 4 days along on the day of the scan so we were expecting to see something a little bit blobby and out of proportion. What we saw were a defined head, body and limbs. They were not 100% in proportion to a new born but it certainly looked more baby like than what we had imagined. The legs seemed so fabulous and long (must be from daddy’s side). We even got a little wave. Little One was a real little person.

The sonographer was quick to point out that this was not a 12-13 week old foetus and told us the measurements were consistent with 15 weeks 2 days.


I have no recollection of most of what was said to me as I was a bit mesmerised by the little beating heart and the real-ness of Little One. Even daddy had a bit of a tear in his eye as we watched the screen.

The sonographer was able to show us the view of the soles of the feet. They looked perfect. I can’t begin to think how tiny they must have been (given that Little One is only about 10cm crown to rump). There were little toes and everything!

On the down side we were informed that Little One was too old for a nuchal scan and we were told we would have to have a quad test if we wanted to assess our Downs risk. I was told this is just as accurate as a nuchal scan and would only involve me giving a blood sample, which I did straight after the scan.

We bought three scan pictures, one for each set of grandparents (who still don’t know about Little One) and one for us.

So we were nearly three weeks out with our dates. I hope they’re right about the dates and I don’t just have a kid with a particularly big head (ouch)!

Clinical Comment

 Simon Mehigan Consultant Midwife

How exciting it is to see your baby for the first time. For many women and their partners it makes the pregnancy become very real and reduces a lot of anxiety and worry they may have had. It's amazing how much the quality of scans that women receive have moved forward. It was just over 21 years ago that I was confidently nodding at the sonographer as she pointed out my daughters head, legs, heart etc when really I was thinking "what is she talking about? I can't make out anything other than the flicker of the heart beat!" That was enough for us though, confirming that we were expecting a baby and just one (as some women will naturally conceive twins and it would be at this scan they are given that news).

Having a full bladder makes it easier for the sonographer to see your baby so it is important to try and drink plenty before you attend for this scan. There are toilets just outside the scan rooms so you shouldn't be uncomfortable for too long.

Scans in the earlier stages in a pregnancy are ideal for calculating when your expected due date (EDD) is and help the midwives and medical staff in planning the rest of your care.

There is a slight difference in the detection rate between the combined test (the nuchal scan combined with a blood test) and the quad test (solely a blood test) of around 4% with the combined test having a higher detection rate of 86%. The combined test can only be done between 11 weeks and 2 days and 14 and 1 day and does include a blood test it is not just a nuchal translucency or NT scan.

For more information about the screening tests you will be offered please refer to the pregnancy book or the national screening committees information leaflet or talk to your community midwife.

Do you have a question for Anna or Simon? If so please email us at or alternatively use the feedback tool at the bottom of this page.

29 June 2012