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The 12 week scan is a routine ultrasound examination carried out at 10 to 14 weeks of gestation.

At the first trimester scan they confirm that the fetus is alive, they assess the gestational age by measuring the crown-rump length and will also look for any major problems.

Crown Rump Length: Gestational age = 6 weeks plus (CRL x days).

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Charts have been developed for this purpose, but some simple rules of thumb can also be effectively used.

From 6 to 11 weeks gestational age, the fetal CRL grows at a rate of about 1 mm per day.

You do not need to have a full bladder, a moderately filled bladder is needed for a proper examination.

Most parents look forward to their scan because it gives them the first glimpse of their baby.

Occasionally the nasal bone cannot be seen at 11 weeks as it is too early in the pregnancy.

If this is the case and this creates some concern then the scan can be repeated a week later.

The crown rump length is a universally recognized term, very useful for measuring early pregnancies.

The CRL (see image above between the two white marked 1) is highly reproducible and is the single most accurate measure of gestational age.

During the examination, the fetus is seen by abdominal ultrasound.

Occasionally the view is not clear and it may be necessary to perform a vaginal scan.

At the first trimester scan they confirm that the fetus is alive, they assess the gestational age by measuring the crown-rump length and will look for any major problems.

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