Whether you (as a couple) have achieved pregnancy through natural sex or tried the alternatives with success, the nine months of gestation will be filled with highs, lows, excitement, fear and many visits to the doctor.

Like we did with the Stages of Prenatal Development, we are breaking down the 9 months of scans to make it easier for you to-be dads to stay on point. Depending on how the pregnancy progresses, your wife may or may not be required to take all the scans (non-invasive ultrasounds).

So, here we go.

Home Pregnancy Test (Urine Test): Usually taken a week after your partner misses her period. If the instructions are followed accurately, it can indicate a positive or negative result.

Beta HCG Test: A test conducted by the doctor after the home pregnancy test to check if the blood contains the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone. It is made right after the fertilized egg attaches to the wall of a woman's uterus.

6 Week Scan: This is the earliest stage ultrasound and is uncommon. It is only recommended if the doctor believes the pregnancy isn’t progressing as it should be.

7 Week Scan: This is when it’s most common for pregnant women to have their first ultrasound and is done primarily to confirm the pregnancy and to see if everything is progressing well.

9 Week Scan: You will be able to see your baby’s limbs, body, head and will also be able to hear your little one’s heart beat for the first time.

12 Week Nuchal Fold Thickness (NFT) Scan: This scan measures the clear space in the tissue at the back of your baby’s neck. It determines the baby’s risk of having Down Syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. It also checks for major congenital heart problems.

15 Week Scan: A routine scan to ensure everything is progressing as it should be.

Amniocentesis: This isn’t an ultrasound but may be requested between week 15 and 20.  Amniotic fluid which contains fetal tissue is sampled from the amniotic sac. The fetal DNA is then analyzed for chromosomal (genetic) abnormalities or a fetal infection. There are various risks associated with this test and it is important to seek your medical care providers guidance and opinion.

19-21 Week Anomaly Scan: This is an elective, detailed scan offered to everyone. It checks for major physical abnormalities but cannot identify all problems.

Fetal Echo Scan: During the anomaly scan if the sonographer spots anything with your baby’s heart that requires more investigation, they may request a Fetal Echo Scan. It is better to be cautious if they believe more detail is required.

28-32 Week Scan: An elective growth and wellbeing scan.

Your doctor may also request a Biophysical Profile Scan in the last trimester. This is a combination of tests conducted to check the baby’s health. It measures the body movement, muscle tone, accelerating heart rate during movement and the amount of amniotic fluid protecting your baby.

36-40 Week Scan: A growth scan to check your baby’s weight and position; the placenta’s position and maturity; position of the umbilical cord and the amount of amniotic fluid.

It is important to verify information and ask your doctor for their opinion. Our guide is meant to outline the facts, but every situation is unique and requires the final word of a qualified medical care professional.

Also read: Can We Have Sex During Pregnancy? And Is Oral Sex Safe During Pregnancy?

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