The early stages in life are the most critical time. It is reassuring to know everything is as it should be. Early in pregnancy there maybe few signs to suggest that you are pregnant. You may have had the ‘blue line’ which suggests you are, but to see for sure will give you added reassurance. Ultrasound scanning in early pregnancy can provide that confirmation and peace of mind that you need.
Most women in early pregnancy experience no problems, but not all.
This early pregnancy dating scan (ante-natal scan) is useful for those who:
Are experiencing pain or bleeding in the pregnancy
Had a previous miscarriages
Had a previous ectopic pregnancy
Are unsure of date of last menstrual period
And for those who need reassurance prior to their NHS scan, now usually performed after 12 weeks.
With many early pregnancy units stretched to over capacity, it is not always possible to get a same day appointment. Our pregnancy ultrasound scans are available seven days a week and appointments are available to suit you.
What can you expect to see on your early pregnancy scan?
5 weeks pregnant:
A small gestation sac in the uterus measuring approximately 3 – 4 mm
6 weeks pregnant:
Within the uterus a small gestation sac and maybe a small yolk sac within it can be seen. Closer to 7 weeks a fetal pole, the visual start of seeing a baby(s) but still measuring only a few millimetre (the size of a grain of rice) with a heartbeat the chances of pregnancy continuing 78%.
7 weeks pregnant:
The baby usually measures 10 – 20 mm and a heartbeat can be seen clearly
8 weeks pregnant:
Baby now measures 20 – 30 mm and again a heartbeat is clearly visible. Chances of pregnancy continuing 98%
10 weeks pregnant:
Baby now measures 35 – 40mm and if the heartbeat is present and the baby measures appropriately for your dates, the chances of the pregnancy continuing is 99.4%.
11 weeks pregnant onwards:
The baby is now measuring approximately 45mm and clearly has a distinguishable head, body, arms and legs. The heart can be seen beating in the chest area and the stomach, bladder and cord insertion are visible. The baby from this time onwards just has to grow and get bigger and stronger.
For many expecting mums who do not want to go down the route of screening for a chromosomal abnormality such as Down’s syndrome then this scan can be performed to give reassurance that all is well up to 18 weeks of pregnancy.
What do we check for on the early pregnancy scan?
The dating pregnancy scan performed between 6 – 18 weeks will confirm:
That a gestation sac is seen within the uterus i.e. the pregnancy is intrauterine, growing in the womb and not ectopic, i.e. growing outside the womb.
The number of babies you are carrying.
By 6/7 weeks in pregnancy it is possible to detect the baby’s heart beat(s)
We measure the baby’s head (crown) to bottom (rump) length (CRL) allowing us to determine how many weeks pregnant you are.
After 14 weeks in pregnancy the baby’s measurements change, we now measure the head circumference (HC), abdominal circumference (AC) and femur length (FL). We change to these measurements as the baby is now ‘curling’ and the CRL measurement becomes inaccurate at determining gestational age to date the pregnancy.
From 11 weeks the baby’s head, body, arms, legs, stomach, bladder and cord insertion will be checked to rule out a large number of major structural abnormalities including anencephaly, gastroschisis, exomphalos and megacystis.
A clear explanation of the procedure and what has been found during the scan will be given to you by our clinical specialist throughout the pregnancy scan. A full report will be issued to put in your obstetric records. We encourage you to show this report to your healthcare professional looking after your care.
Should a problem be found, we will make all the necessary arrangements for follow-up care at a suitable time and location of your preference.