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All women will be offered ultrasound scans of their baby at around 12 and 20 weeks. Some women will need extra scans later in the pregnancy for several reasons, such as checking the baby’s growth. Ultrasound scanning has been used extensively in pregnancy and is accepted to be safe. Prior to attending, please try to have a full bladder by drinking 1-2 pints of water/squash about 1 hour before your scan time.

Dating scan at around 12 weeks

This is a basic scan to check your baby’s heartbeat and development. This scan also measures the baby and estimates how many weeks pregnant you are. If you are more than 8 weeks pregnant this is an accurate calculation, and will be used to estimate the date your baby is due to be born (known as estimated date of delivery or EDD).

Nuchal scan

This scan is carried out between 11+2 weeks and 14+1 weeks and measures the amount of fluid lying under the skin at the back of your baby’s neck and combines this result with results from blood samples, your age, weight, weeks of pregnancy, family origin and whether you smoke into a computer programme at the laboratory to work out the risk (chance) figure for Down’s Syndrome.

This is discussed in more detail here.

Structural (anomaly) scan (18+6 to 20 weeks)

This is a screening test that checks for possible physical problems with your baby. The test is offered to all women, but not everyone will choose to have it. If you choose not to have this scan your choice will be respected and you will be offered a later pregnancy management scan.

This scan is a positive experience for most people, but not for everybody as unfortunately sometimes we find a problem with a baby’s development. Whilst this scan is good at detecting most serious problems, it cannot pick up all possible problems with the baby. For example, only about 60% of heart problems are found. The sonographer will have the screen in a position to give them the best view of the baby. The sonographer will need to concentrate during the scan but will explain the scan findings at the end. The length of the scan varies, but it can take up to 30 minutes depending on your baby’s position.

Scans are not guaranteed to find all problems with a baby. If we do find a problem with the baby or if the scan findings are unclear, we will arrange for you to speak to a doctor and another scan may be arranged. This may be on a different day. In a small number of cases, babies are born with abnormalities that were not spotted on scan. The chances of what we can or can’t see on an ultrasound scan are found on page 34 of the booklet “Screening Tests for You and Your Baby”, which can be found here.

Growth scan

This is a scan done later in the pregnancy (usually after 26 weeks) to assess your baby’s size. These are not done routinely. If you have had certain problems in a previous pregnancy then you will be assessed to see if any scans are required. There may also be other clinical reasons why you may require a growth scan and this will be discussed with you by the midwives and doctors.


Obstetric Ultrasound Service

Ultrasound scans are conducted at Saint Mary’s Ultrasound Department, Trafford General Hospital (for women living in Trafford) and Salford Royal (for women living in Salford).

As this is a medical examination, we will only look and try to see the sex of your baby if asked.  We can never be 100% certain and this is not the priority of the scan. Checking the sex of your baby is not possible on some scans.

Scan photos are sold at £3 each or £5 for two.

One adult is allowed to accompany you in the scan room.

How do I access this service?

Referrals for scans are only from midwives or doctors in antenatal clinics or on the hospital wards.

Appointment times

It is important to arrive on time for your appointment. If you are late we will try to accommodate you, but those women arriving on time will be given priority. Please telephone the scan department if you know you will be late. Please make sure that you allow plenty of time to park and find the department.


Saint Mary’s Ultrasound Department is located at the back of main atrium on the Ground Floor, Saint Mary’s Hospital.

Trafford General Hospital, Radiology Department is located next to the Urgent Care Centre, Moorside Road, Davyhulme.

Salford Obstetrics and Gynaecology Ultrasound, Ground Floor, Brooke Building, Stott Lane, Salford

Opening Hours

Saint Mary’s:   8.00 am-5.00 pm, Monday-Friday

Trafford:   7.30 am-5.30 pm, Monday-Thursday and 7.30 am-5.00 pm, Friday

Ultrasound scans at Trafford tend to be booked prior to 1.00 pm to co-ordinate with on-site clinical teams.

Salford:   8.00 am-5.00 pm, Monday-Friday

Contact Details

Saint Mary’s Radiology Reception: (0161) 276 6374

Trafford General Radiology appointments: (0161) 746 2001

Salford Obstetrics and Gynaecology Ultrasound reception: (0161) 206 5322