If your 12-week scan is coming up, you’ll probably have lots of questions. We try our best to answer some of the biggest ones, as well as give you some celebration ideas.


The first big milestone during pregnancy – after the peeing-on-the-stick-bit – is the 12-week scan. It’s an important moment; the first chance for you to meet your new baby.

But as with a lot of things during pregnancy, it’s also an excuse for letting your mind be overwhelmed with worry. And just like those other things, it’s likely to all be fine in the end. Still, having a bit of a clue what to expect, is a good way to set your mind at ease before the gel hits the tummy.

When is my 12 week scan?

It might sound like a silly question, but it’s a common one; it usually falls somewhere between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. If you’ve been having fertility treatment, have a history of complications or feel like something isn’t right – you may be offered an earlier scan.

How do you book a 12 week scan?

You should have booked yourself in with your GP following a pregnancy test. They will then set the ball rolling for scans. You’ll receive a letter from the hospital inviting you to come in and meet with a sonographer.

a pregnant woman is sat on a bed, propped up with cushions, and she is reading a book of baby names.

What is a 12 week scan for?

There are a number of reasons for having a 12-week scan but the two important ones are to help doctors predict your due date and to establish that your baby is growing as expected. They will check for a heartbeat and monitor signs of development.

It’s also your first opportunity to meet your little one. You will see them appear on the screen (if they’re playing along) and will even get a black and white photo to take home with you.

Will my 12 week scan be able to say whether it is a boy or girl?

By the time you reach your 12-week scan, your child’s birth gender will already be assigned and their rude organs will be in development, however, it is too early for doctors to tell. You should find out their gender (if you want to) at your 20-week scan.

Can the 12 week scan detect if I’m expecting twins or multiples?

Yes, by this stage it should be clear if you are expecting more than one child and, unless you’ve had an earlier scan, this will be when you find out.

A pregnant woman and her partner stand next to a large window with blinds, looking at a 4d baby scan photograph.

Will they be able to detect abnormalities in my 12 week scan?

One of the big reasons for the scan is to make sure your baby is developing at the right speed and showing the right signs of progress. If there is anything out of the ordinary at this stage, then it is highly likely that it will be spotted. If that is the case, you’ll be referred for further tests and scans.

How long does my 12 week scan take?

The whole scan should take about half an hour – although if your little one doesn’t like having their photo taken, it may take the sonographer a little longer to get a good shot!

You’ll be taken into a dark room and the sonographer will ask you to lift your top and tuck some tissue paper into the top of your trousers. They’ll put some (cold!) gel on your tummy. Then the sonographer will press on your stomach firmly with the transducer device – this is what picks up all the important information about the baby. The gel just helps it to better connect with your tummy. After the sonographer has made note of all the developmental checkpoints they need, they’ll turn to screen to show you and you can meet your new baby for the first time.

What happens after my 12 week scan?

Well, then you’re on your way to become a parent. The next big check – unless the nurses have specified anything different – will be your 20-week scan. That’s the biggie, where you can find out the gender if you want.

Other than that, it’s about getting yourself prepared. If you haven’t already, now’s the time you’ll start to plan properly. Sorting out your budget and making a list of what you need (LINK) – and probably even making some of the bigger purchases.

How should we celebrate our 12 week scan?

Seeing as you now have your first official photo of baby, you might want to put this on display. We love a good scan frame as they’re a great way to get your new image on the wall and make your little one feel like part of the family already.

Baby Scan Photo Frame

Seeing as you now have your first official photo of baby, you might want to put this on display. We love a good scan frame as they’re a great way to get your new image on the wall and make your little one feel like part of the family already.

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Baby’s First Outfit

Maybe you want to get something a little more tangible to make this whole thing even more of a reality. In that case, a cute little outfit is always popular. Might we recommend a piece from our stunning Welcome to the World range of baby clothing.

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Baby’s First Cuddly Toy

Every child needs a best friend for when they arrive. So you might want to find them a pal now. We have a range of cuddly toys to choose from, each of them soft and cosy, waiting for the arrival of their new partner in crime.

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Money Box

Maybe you need to a bit of saving before baby arrives, or if you want to play the long game, you might want to start building them a little nest egg. A money box is a great option as it also doubles as a perfect nursery ornament.

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Something for Mum-to-Be

It’s not just baby that deserves showering with gifts. Let’s not forget that you or your partner are putting in a lot of the heavy lifting (literally in the later months of pregnancy!) so why not treat them to a little bit of pampering. We’ve got lots of beauty products to help them look and feel their best, as well as a range of active and lounge maternity wear, to keep them comfy over the next few months.

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So now you know what to expect on your 12-week scan – and also how to celebrate once it’s over. You’re bound to be nervous beforehand, as it’s all still a little unknown and overwhelming, but try to relax, speak to other parents about their experiences and remember to treasure the moment.

Check out the rest of our Pregnancy Advice at 0-12 Weeks or visit our Parent Hub for more great articles and interesting things to read.


Check out the rest of our advice to learn more about the milestones you’ll reach during pregnancy.

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