637 4060 ADDRESS: 60 Mount Street Lower, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2 info@merrionultrasound.ie

12 Week Scan Dublin

12 Week Scan Dublin

12 Weeks

Early Pregnancy Scan Costs

The early pregnancy scan includes photographs and a computerised report. Your sonographer will answer any questions you may have.


10 – 12 weeks – €160


What Is Involved?

Early pregnancy scans will:

  • confirm the presence of the baby’s heartbeat
  • calculate the gestational age
  • look for multiples (twins, triplets etc)
  • site the pregnancy
  • to confirm that the pregnancy is in the uterus


42″ Ultrasound Scan Screen

The ultrasound is available for you to view on a 42” screen which is located on the wall at the end of the ultrasound couch. This allows you to view the images produced by the transducer. At this stage in pregnancy it may not be easy for you to make out what you are seeing on screen but the sonographer will explain what you are looking at.



12 Week Scan in Pregnancy - What You Need to Know

How does the combined test work during the scan

12-week scan in pregnancy – what you need to know

The 12-week scan is an important screening test in pregnancy. It’s also known as the combined test because it can give you an estimation of your baby’s due date and screen for specific conditions.

The ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to create a picture of your baby in the womb. The test is usually carried out by a specialist sonographer and takes around 20 minutes.

It’s traditionally performed through your tummy, but sometimes it may be done vaginally. The ultrasound scan can be a fascinating time for expectant parents, as it’s often the first time you see your baby.

It can also be reassuring to know that everything is progressing as it should be. However, it’s important to remember that the ultrasound scan is primarily a screening test and is not 100% accurate. You may be offered further tests or referrals for specialist care if anything unusual is found.

Is the ultrasound scan safe for both the mother and the baby 1

What happens during the 12-week scan?

During the 12-week scan, also known as the nuchal translucency scan, practitioners will measure the fluid at the back of the baby’s neck. This measurement is combined with the results of a blood test to assess the risk of chromosome abnormalities, including Down syndrome.

The blood test is usually taken from the mother, but in some cases, the father may need to provide a sample. In addition to assessing the risk of chromosomal abnormalities, the 12-week scan can also provide information about how many babies are present, as well as the baby’s heartbeat.

While the scan is generally safe and accurate, there is a small risk of miscarriage associated with it. For this reason, parents should discuss the risks and benefits of having the scan with their practitioner before making a decision.

Is the ultrasound scan safe for both the mother and the baby


Transvaginal ultrasound

A transvaginal ultrasound is a type of scan usually carried out in early pregnancy. It’s sometimes called a dating scan as it can help to show how many weeks pregnant you are. The first pregnancy scan is usually carried out when you’re between 10 weeks and 13 weeks plus six days pregnant, although it can be carried out any time from six weeks.

You will need to have a full bladder for this scan, as this gives the clearest picture of your baby. The sonographer will put some gel on your tummy and move a small hand-held device, called a transducer, over your skin to get a clear image of your baby.

In early pregnancy, your baby is very small and tucked away deep inside your tummy. This can make it hard to get an accurate picture of them. Having a full bladder brings the womb up close to the stomach so that the sonographer can see clearly. The transvaginal ultrasound can give a more detailed view of your baby than an abdominal ultrasound.

It’s also useful if you’re overweight or there are concerns about your baby being breech (bottom down). Occasionally, finding it difficult to see everything may mean that you need to have another scan later on in your pregnancy. In this case, don’t worry – it isn’t harmful and will only happen if it’s necessary.

Having a transvaginal ultrasound won’t hurt, but you may feel some discomfort when the sonographer inserts the transducer into your vagina. They will use a condom (external condom with the gel) and lubricant to help insert the device comfortably.

Transabdominal ultrasound

A transabdominal ultrasound is a painless test that uses sound waves to create images of your internal organs. It’s often used to check on the health of patients with certain health conditions, such as liver disease.

It can also be used to get a first look at a developing baby or to check for pregnancy complications. During the test, a gel is applied to your abdomen and a small hand-held device, called a transducer, is placed against your skin.

The transducer emits sound waves that bounce off your organs and create echoes. These echoes are then transmitted to a computer, which generates images of your organs. The entire test usually takes less than 30 minutes.

Additional ultrasound

In addition to the transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasounds, there are a few other ultrasounds that can be done during the 12-week scan. One is called nuchal translucency, which is a measure of the fluid at the back of the unborn baby’s neck. This can help to assess the risk of certain chromosomal abnormalities.

Another ultrasound that can be done is called a fetal echocardiogram, which is a detailed assessment of the unborn baby’s heart. This can be helpful if there are concerns about the health of the fetal heart.

Finally, a fetal medicine consultant may also recommend an ultrasound screen for certain conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

What happens during the 12-week scan 2

Why do a blood test during the 12-week scan? 

A blood test during the 12-week scan is a combined test, which measures two substances in the blood: PAPP-A and hCG. These substances are produced by the placenta and are indicators of how well it is functioning.

The combined test is also used to date the pregnancy, as it is more accurate than the dating scan. The diagnostic test is used to screen for conditions such as down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome.

It is usually carried out during the first trimester but can be done later on in the pregnancy if necessary. The blood test can also help to determine the sex of the baby, as males and females have different levels of PAPP-A.

Why do a blood test during the 12-week scan

Is the ultrasound scan safe for both the mother and the baby?

Ultrasound scans are an important tool for obstetricians and midwives during pregnancy. They help us to dating the pregnancy, assess for multiple pregnancies, a combined screening test for downs syndrome, due date and occasionally assess the baby for congenital anomalies. The ultrasound waves used for dating scan are different to the ones used in combined screening test and the latter should not be performed prior to 11 weeks gestation.

There is no evidence that ultrasound scans are harmful to either the mother or the baby when used as part of routine obstetric care. Midwives and obstetricians are trained in the use of ultrasound and will use it only when clinically indicated. If you have any concerns about having an ultrasound scan, please discuss this with your midwife or obstetrician.

Why do a blood test during the 12-week scan 1

How does the combined test work during the scan? 

During a pregnancy scan, the baby’s neck is measured as this is the easiest way to estimate gestational age. A dating scan is usually performed at around 10-14 weeks to determine the baby’s due date.

The pregnancy scan is performed with a full bladder as this makes it easier to see the baby. The combined test is usually performed at around 11-13 weeks, and it involves measuring the baby’s nuchal translucency (NT). The NT is the space at the back of the baby’s neck, and it can be affected by certain conditions, such as Down syndrome.

By measuring the NT, doctors can get an idea of whether or not the baby is at risk for certain conditions. The combined test also involves taking a blood sample from the mother, which is used to measure levels of certain hormones. These hormone levels can also give doctors an idea of whether or not the baby is at risk for certain conditions.


Book An Early Pregnancy Scan

The first trimester scan is usually undertaken between six and twelve weeks of gestational age. It’s better to leave this scan until after seven weeks if it all possible as we’ll get the most accurate information from it. The reasons that we undertake this scan is to determine if the baby’s heartbeat is present, how many babies are present in the uterus and to give you an accurate estimated date of delivery. It’s also a very important time to do the scan if there’s any fear that the pregnancy might be located in one of the fallopian tubes, also called an ectopic pregnancy. So a scan at this gestational age will determine where the pregnancy is sited.

Early Pregnancy Scans FAQs

What Can I Expect At My Early Pregnancy Scan at Merrion Ultrasound?

A full bladder is required for this scan. On occasions, it will be necessary for an internal ultrasound examination to be performed. On occasions, it is possible that you will receive an inconclusive scan result. This is normally due to the fact that it is simply too early to see the pregnancy or the pregnancy is not growing as it should.

If, at your appointment it is not possible to confirm whether your pregnancy is ongoing or not we will recommend that you be rescanned in 7 – 10 days’ time. There will be a charge of €60.00 for subsequent Early Pregnancy/Reassurance scans. A scan in early pregnancy is usually performed in the first trimester between 6 – 12 weeks gestation. You may be having a scan for a number of reasons including confirmation of the EDD (estimated date of delivery), to confirm the pregnancy or just for peace of mind. You may have a scan earlier than this if you are experiencing complications in the pregnancy such as bleeding.

When arriving at Merrion Ultrasound you will be met by a member of our Administration Team. If it is your first time with us you will be asked to complete a registration form. You will then be directed to our waiting room where you will await your sonographer. Your sonographer will meet with you in the waiting area and take you to the ultrasound room. Your registration details will be confirmed with by the sonographer before the ultrasound procedure begins.

There are two types of early pregnancy scans; an abdominal scan and a transvaginal scan. An abdominal scan is performed by placing the transducer onto the abdomen of the patient. A lubricating gel is used to facilitate the scan. The process of abdominal scan is non invasive and painless. You will be required to have a full bladder for an early pregnancy scan. Drinking about one pint of water one hour beforehand is normally sufficient to fill the bladder but stop drinking if you start to feel uncomfortable. A transvaginal ultrasound can detect earlier pregnancies. It is often necessary for the sonographer to perform a transvaginal scan (TVS) in very early pregnancy. A TVS involves the insertion of a probe into the vagina. Transvaginal ultrasound gives a much clearer and enhanced view. If the sonographer feels it necessary to proceed to a TVS the procedure will be discussed with you and your permission sought. Like an abdominal ultrasound, a TVS is not painful but maybe a little uncomfortable and possibly a little embarrassing.

What Will The Sonographer Check?

When the early pregnancy scan is being performed your sonographer will:

  • calculate the gestational age
  • check for a fetal heart
  • determine the estimated date of delivery
  • look for multiples
  • will check to exclude an ectopic pregnancy

The ultrasound is available for you to view on a 42” screen which is located on the wall at the end of the ultrasound couch. This allows you to view the images produced by the transducer. At this stage in pregnancy it may not be easy for you to make out what you are seeing on screen but the sonographer will explain what you are looking at.

It is our aim to make your visit with us as relaxing, enjoyable and as stress free as possible. If you have any questions before, during the early pregnancy scan or after your visit please do not hesitate to ask a member of staff and we would be delighted to assist with your query.

Can you see a 2 week pregnancy on ultrasound?

It can be possible to site a gestational sac as early as three weeks from conception, which is five gestational weeks of pregnancy. If a sac is not present, it could be that the mother-to-be has ovulated later than normal. If tests show that the HcG is 1100, an ultrasound may be repeated a few days later. In most cases ultrasound is not carried out at such an early stage.

Can you see the baby at 4 weeks?

At four weeks of gestational pregnancy, the ball-like formation of cells is forming into embryo (the stage before fetus) and placenta. Therefore if an ultrasound were to take place, the gestational sac may show, looking a bit similar to a tiny dot. In most cases ultrasound is not carried out at such an early stage

What can be seen on ultrasound at 5 weeks?

At five gestational weeks of pregnancy, three weeks from conception, it is possible to see the tiny dot, which is the gestational sac. In most cases ultrasound is not carried out at such an early stage.

Can you feel an unborn baby’s heartbeat?

During pregnancy, you may think you feel your unborn baby’s heartbeat, when your blood vessels in your tummy pulsate. This is a common mistake to make. However you don’t actually feel baby’s heartbeat at all during pregnancy.

Can I have a scan at 6 weeks?

Generally this is the earliest a scan will be performed. The six weeks are dated from the date (first day) of your LMP (last menstrual period). Your medical team will recommend a scan if you have experienced pain, bleeding or any other symptoms, that mean that it will be better to confirm viability (if your pregnancy is viable, meaning that your unborn baby has a heartbeat).

Can you see the heartbeat at 6 weeks?

The heartbeat of an embryo normally starts off at six weeks of gestational pregnancy (dated from the first day of your LMP). This is detected by carrying out a transvaginal ultrasound. Sometimes it isn’t possible to detect your embryo’s heartbeat until around seven or eight weeks of gestational pregnancy. So you may need to attend the clinic for another scan.

Can you see a baby on an ultrasound at 7 weeks?

In general by seven weeks it should be possible to confirm your embryo’s heartbeat, although in some cases it may only be possible to detect the following week.

What week do you find out the gender of the baby?

If you choose to find out your baby’s gender, then this can normally be detected between week sixteen and week twenty. However this will depend on how the ultrasound goes, in terms of the sonographer being able to see the baby’s genitalia. This depends on how baby is positioned.


Nuchal Translucency

12-14 weeks


Anatomy Survey

21-22 weeks


Later Dating

10-17 weeks


Gender Scan

19 weeks onwards


Growth & Well Being

22 weeks onwards


Post Dates & Liquor

40 weeks onwards

See Video With Prof. Shane Higgins


What Our Patients Say

Gráinne Macken

This is my second visit to Merrion Fetal, I was very pleased on both occasions. Lovely quiet waiting room, appointment was on time. The 20-week scan is very detailed we enjoyed watching our baby on the large TV screen. We got some beautiful photos. The nurse was very pleasant and talked us through all the measurements and anatomy. I would highly recommend this scanning clinic.”

Áine Gibney

I had the best experience at the Merrion Fetal Health clinic for my 20-week big scan. The staff were so friendly and so nice and the lovely lady who did my ultrasound scan was amazing. She was so thoroughgoing to absolutely everything and gave me such reassurance on how my baby was growing and developing. I would recommend any Mother to be to attend here if you are looking for a comfortable, reassuring and super pleasant experience.”

Linda O'Sullivan

Highly recommend! We had an early scan due to a little scare at the start of pregnancy and then another at 12 weeks to make sure all was good again. Helen who was scanning on both days was fantastic. We felt totally relaxed and un-rushed while she took her time finding the best angle of baby to get us the clearest pictures as keepsakes all while making sure everything was perfect with baby. She reassured us throughout and I can honestly say it was the best money we ever spent getting both scans done.

Please let Helen know we are 18 weeks now and flying along Highly recommend!



About The Clinic

Merrion Fetal Health Pregnancy Scans Dublin 2

About The Consultants

Dr. Rhona Mahony

About The Team

Pregnancy scans lead sonographer at Merrion Fetal Health

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18 weeks pregnancy scan facial profile Merrion Fetal Health

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Consultant Led, Centre of Medical Excellence