112 Harley Street
Early Pregnancy Scan
Determine the presence of a pregnancy
Check the fetal heartbeat from 6-11 weeks
Check the viability of the pregnancy
Diagnose a multiple pregnancy
Calculate your estimated due date (EDD)
Check the pregnancy is ongoing
Investigate the cause of any bleeding or pain
Investigate suspected ectopic pregnancy
The early pregnancy scan is the first pregnancy scan that you can have and is not routinely available on the NHS. It is often done if you are not sure if you are pregnant or to provide reassurance in the very early stages of your pregnancy. It is particularly reassuring for women who have suffered a previous miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
How the Early Pregnancy scan is performed
Early Pregnancy Scans can be performed any time from 7 to 11 weeks of pregnancy. These dates are calculated from the first day of your last menstrual period.
The scan is either performed transabdominally, by placing the scan probe on your tummy, or transvaginally, using a small probe covered by a sterile sheath that is inserted vaginally, so that the scan probe is closer to the womb. This can give a clearer picture for early pregnancies and helps to look for an ectopic pregnancy or signs of miscarriage. Neither type of scan involves any risk to the pregnancy.
Why might you choose to have an Early Pregnancy Scan?
- For early reassurance, especially if you have suffered a miscarriage previously
- If you are unsure how far you are, this scan can help determine a due date
- If you have any bleeding or unusual pain during early pregnancy
- If you have a history of ectopic pregnancy
- If you have had fertility treatment, this scan can help reassure you
How to prepare for an Early Pregnancy scan
For a transabdominal scan, a full bladder is required to get good views. If we feel that a transvaginal scan is needed, we will ask you to then empty your bladder.
What if the news received is not what you expected?
One possible reason why we may be unable to see a healthy pregnancy in the womb at the early pregnancy scan stage is because you may be earlier than you think, and so we may advise a repeat scan after another week or two. Sometimes, however, it may be a sign of an early miscarriage. Under these circumstances we recommend a further ultrasound scan in 7-10 days to check the viability of the pregnancy again.
However, the scan may show that there has clearly been a miscarriage or that there are signs suggestive of an ectopic pregnancy - a pregnancy outside of the womb. In these instances we will refer you for further care to the Early Pregnancy Unit at your local NHS Hospital for further follow up.
Pregnancy and Gynaecology
112 Harley Street