So you are around 11 weeks pregnant, and it's time for your ultrasound, what can you expect?
This fetal ultrasound is known at the dating scan, as they should be able to predict your due date from what they observe! This is also your first time 'seeing' your baby, and hearing baby's heartbeat, it is an amazing experience and can be a little emotional so don't forget the tissues.
This scan should ideally happen in the first trimester (the first 12 weeks). All pregnancies are different, but generally speaking you will have this ultrasound at roughly 11 weeks (in months this is just under three!), and then one more between 18 and 22 weeks.
Read on for more information about your ultrasound scan, how to prepare, and what you can find out about your growing baby.
If you would like to find out more about pregnancy and what to expect, check out our other pregnancy articles, including information about being [31 weeks pregnant head down] and [32 weeks pregnant].
Before Your 11 Week Ultrasound
It is quite common to want to keep your pregnancy on the down-low in these early days before that first scan, so if you are planning on announcing it after, you are almost there.
The first trimester can be a bit of a roller coaster of emotions, nausea, and restless nights, but thankfully the second trimester is just around the corner and this is often considered the best part of pregnancy. All the new hormones should settle down, sickness should start to go away, and you might even get that lovely 'glow' we always hear about!
Did you know that your body is now pumping up to 50% more blood than usual? This is all going straight to your womb, it could make you feel a little hot and dizzy at times so remember to stay hydrated, and rest often.
At 11 weeks pregnant, your body has been busy growing a whole new organ, the placenta, which is getting ready to replace the yolk sac and do its amazing job of feeding your baby. You might feel a little worn out and emotional due to an influx of hormones, these will settle we promise!
While your body is adapting to accommodate its new resident, you may experience some pains as your muscles and ligaments stretch, this is normal but if it hurts a lot or you have any concerns, contact your MD.
During The 11 Week Ultrasound
So it's time for your ultrasound! This is a simple procedure that's not too invasive but you will need to let the sonographer see your stomach, so it's a good idea to wear leggings or sweats and a loose-fitting top you can easily pull up. You may need to have a full bladder for this scan, at 11 weeks pregnant this is not ideal but it can help create a clearer image on the screen.
Sadly there is a small chance you could receive bad news at this scan. If this is the case there is support available and the sonographer will be trained to speak with you about what is happening.
To start with, ultrasound gel is applied to your belly to make sure there is continuous contact between the machine and your skin. A small probe called a transducer is then used to gently press down, this is when a picture will appear on the screen. High-frequency sound waves create echoes which the machine picks up, providing a view of your uterus and detecting the fetus, pretty amazing!
From viewing the screen, the sonographer will be able to see how far along you are and estimate your due date. They will check the health of the fetus, how it's developing, and make sure it's growing in the right place. This scan will be able to tell if you are expecting multiples, so if twins run in your family you might want to prepare yourself!
An 11 week ultrasound gender prediction is sometimes an option, but it could be wise to wait until your second scan when it will be more accurate.
At this stage, your baby's head will appear quite large with a small body. They are developing tiny fingernails, ears, and even hair. If you've been tracking fetal development week by week, you might already know that your baby at 11 weeks will be around 41mm or roughly the size of a lime! You may spot the baby doing some kicks and wriggling on the screen.
If you are interested in getting an 11 week 3D ultrasound, please check if your hospital offers this as many do and, although it may be tempting, it is not advisable to visit a prenatal portrait center. The staff there are unlikely to have medical knowledge about the scan, so won't be able to tell you if there are causes for concern. It is important to have all your appointments with qualified medical practitioners, a 2D scan is still super cute!
There is no known risk associated with pregnancy ultrasounds, but you can choose not to have them if you wish, this won't affect the care you receive and it is completely up to you.
After The 11 Week Ultrasound
At just 11 weeks pregnant, birth might seem far away but this is actually a good stage to be starting researching your options. You could look into classes, there are some amazing online hypnobirthing classes, classes your birth partner can take part in, and lots of parenting courses too.
As you approach your second trimester, your bump will be starting to become more obvious, your body is going through a lot of changes so remember to practice self-care. Massaging your bump, bubble baths, and fresh air will all help to keep your mood elevated.
Remember, if you have any health concerns throughout your pregnancy, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. Your baby's development and your mental and physical health are of utmost importance, and your doctor and midwife are there to reassure you throughout.
If you would like some information about later on in pregnancy too, take a look at these articles, all about the [36 week ultrasound], or [why you get period pains in your 37th week].
Freelance writer Amy lives in Hampshire with her 3 year old daughter, who is a super energetic, chatty child, leading to Amy’s interest in all matters to do with infant and child sleeping patterns and mindfulness for adults and children. Amy’s degree was in fashion design and she loves filling their beautiful home full of interesting textiles, tiles, art, ceramics, and houseplants or, alternatively, pining over them on Instagram. When they aren’t out exploring in the fresh air they can be found cosying up at home, painting, knitting, and dancing!