An Early Pregnancy Scan(sometimes called a Viability Scan or Dating Scan) is often done to provide reassurance in the very early stages of your pregnancy. You can have an Early Pregnancy Scan any time from 6 weeks into your pregnancy. These dates are calculated from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP) not the day of conception. Before 5 weeks it is not possible to see any signs of pregnancy with current ultrasound technology.
Why have an Early Pregnancy Scan?
Early Pregnancy Scans are not routinely offered on the NHS but you may have one privately without affecting your NHS entitlement. Sometimes it is requested by a doctor or midwife to confirm that your pregnancy is healthy (in this case your scan is often called a viability scan) and to calculate the date when your baby is due (usually referred to as a dating scan). It can be also performed to confirm the results of a pregnancy test kit.
Generally the reasons for having an Early Pregnancy Scan are to:
Confirm the viability of the pregnancy (check that there is a heartbeat present).
Establish the number of babies and check the site of the pregnancy i.e, exclude ectopic pregnancy.
Calculate the gestational age of the pregnancy.
About an Early Pregnancy Scan?
Scans in early pregnancy are normally performed trans-abdominally however; an internal scan may be required at earlier gestations i.e. 6-7 weeks. Sometimes if the sonographer is unable to obtain a clear, accurate measurement you will be asked to return a week or two later when your baby will have grown larger to enable a more precise assessment.
Preparation: Please try to attend with a full bladder as this will improve the visibility of the scan.
Appointment length: Approximately 20 minutes, of which you can expect 5 to 10 minutes of scanning time.