12 Week Ultrasound: What to Expect

Team Peanut8 months ago4 min read

Do you know what the 12 week ultrasound marks? Drum roll please… The end of the first trimester. Can you believe it? You’re a third of the way there, mama!

12 week ultrasound

As well as this, your 12 week ultrasound might just be the very first time you get to have a glimpse of your little peanut— and that can be more than a little tear-jerking. (Read: there’s no such thing as an overreaction to this experience — or an underreaction for that matter!)

We’re going to take you through how to prepare, what to expect, and what you might see on your 12 week ultrasound.

12 weeks pregnant ultrasound

So what actually happens at a 12 week ultrasound?

The first thing to know is that there are two types of scans: transabdominal and transvaginal. Chances are, your 12 week ultrasound will be of the transabdominal variety. Some gel will be rubbed on your bump; the sonographer will rub their magic wand (aka a transducer) over the top; and the image of your baby-to-be will appear on the screen through the magic use of sound wave imaging.

As you’re likely aware, everything to do with pregnancy allows for some leeway in terms of timelines. Gray areas abound. Such is the case with 12 week pregnancy scans. While this procedure is often referred to as the 12 week ultrasound, it can take place anywhere between 11 and 14 weeks.

In terms of prep work, your bladder is surprisingly important. Have a little liquid before you go. Of course, a severe urge to pee can upstage the view you’re about to get on the screen—but if your bladder is holding some juice, it can be a great help when it comes to positioning your uterus for the show. Who knew!

What to expect at 12 week ultrasound

And now for the main event: What can I expect at my 12 week ultrasound?

  • It’s a date! The 12 week ultrasound is also called the dating scan. Your due date can be pretty accurately predicted at your 12 week ultrasound. (Of course, “accuracy” is a loose term, but at least you’ll have a fairly good idea.)
  • Check-in with how the baby growing process is going. Your doc will be able to flag any developmental concerns or chromosomal issues that can result in certain conditions.
  • Size up your little one. At this point, the measurement will be taken from the top of their head to their bum. The average size of your baby at this stage is around 2.5 inches. That’s about nine-tenths as tall as a golf tee, three and a half times the size of a vitamin pill, and one forty-fifth the size of André the Giant.
  • ** Find out how many babies are actually in there.** Yup, this may be the time when you discover whether you need to double up on future high chair purchases—or, in some cases, triple or quadruple up. If you are in for double trouble, your healthcare provider may also be able to tell whether you can expect fraternal or paternal twins.
  • You may be able to determine the sex of your little one: If you’re asking Can you see gender at a 12 weeks ultrasound? The answer is… maybe! You might be able to identify the baby’s sex at this stage at about 90% accuracy. Their genitals are currently just a little bump, but they might be able to be detected.

Ultrasound picture at 12 weeks

What will I see at a 12 week scan? A sea of black and white and grey. Within that sea, you should be able to make out some mini legs, a mini spine, a mini face (often with a mini nose bone), and a mini body. You’ll also be able to see your placenta (woah) and how your blood is moving around inside you to ensure the process all goes smoothly.

You’ll also likely get a beautiful snapshot to go up on your fridge.

Onwards to the second trimester. Here we go!

🤰 Read next:
30 Week Ultrasound: Key Facts
40 Week Ultrasound: Key Facts