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It's not completely foolproof – but the dating scan is a much more accurate way to work out how far you are into pregnancy than calculating it by the date of your last period, which is the only method the midwives will have used so far to work out your due date.You may find at this scan your due date is altered on your notes.If you're pregnant and over 40 it's worth bearing in mind that your risk factor will automatically be higher because of your age.The pregnancy screening tests and scans you'll be offered vary slightly between different parts of the UK, so ask your midwife or GP what's available at the hospitals in your area.Before the scan you will be asked to drink a lot of water and have a full bladder, as this puts the uterus in a better position to be scanned.This can be something of an uncomfortable challenge if your sonographer has particularly long waiting times.This is a measurement of the amount of fluid at the base of the baby's neck and it can indicate a higher risk of Down's syndrome.Not all areas offer this test as routine but when it is offered it is usually done at the 12-week scan.
You will have had earlier appointments and may have had an early scan if you've had any concerns such as bleeding, but otherwise this is the first time you'll get to see your baby, so it's a real milestone in your pregnancy.
This will give you a more precise estimated due date.
Are you expecting just one baby, or could it be twins or (gulp) even more?
You might feel a bit of pressure but it doesn't actually hurt and won't harm your baby.
You should then see the black-and-white image of your baby appear on the screen.
The sonographer will check your baby's spine for any visible abnormalities.