Early Pregnancy Scan - Viability Scan
Early Scan – At a Glance
- 6 – 9 weeks Gestation age
- Determine the presence of a pregnancy
- Ensure the viability of the pregnancy
- Confirm that pregnancy is intrauterine and not an ectopic
- Early Reassurance
- No GP referral is required
- Same time as you obtain the results straight away
- Fully qualified NHS sonographers
- Full Bladder is required
- Only £109
- Book Online or over the phone
Early Pregnancy Scan from 6 to 9 weeks gestational age
The early pregnancy scan also called viability scan in the first trimester is used to confirm a pregnancy and the unborn baby’s heartbeat. You may be offered this scan if you had vaginal bleeding, or you are concerned due to previous pregnancy complications and risk of miscarriage. The early pregnancy scan is also known as baby viability scan is the first obstetric ultrasound and can provide the very much needed reassurance that the pregnancy is progressing normally, that it is intrauterine and not an ectopic.
This private pregnancy scan can detect the embryonic heartbeat as early as 6 weeks pregnant. Scans should not be performed prior to 6 weeks gestation as they are likely to be inconclusive.
Reasons for this early baby scan:
Reasons for having this prenatal ultrasound include:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Pelvic pain
- History of miscarriages
- History of ectopic pregnancy
- General reassurance
- Rule out ectopic pregnancy and check the pregnancy sac is located within the uterus
- Confirm the viability of the pregnancy
- Check the foetal heartbeat is present
- Calculate the gestation of pregnancy by measuring the crown-rump length
- Determine whether it is a singleton or multiple pregnancies
- Bleeding/Spotting or any unusual pain
What is the purpose of early scans:
The purpose of this early obstetric ultrasound is:
Determine the presence of a pregnancy
- Determine cause of any concerning symptoms, such as bleeding if present
- To ensure the viability of the pregnancy by detecting a clear baby heartbeat.
- Ensure that the pregnancy is located within the uterus and not in the fallopian tubes (not an ectopic pregnancy).
- Detect whether it is single or multiple pregnancies.
- Early reassurance
What is included with the private early scan?
This private ultrasound includes: Report with a 2D b/w baby picture
Preparation for this baby scan
We need a full bladder for this early pregnancy scan, so you need to drink 1/2lt (1 pint) of water an hour before your scan.
What should I expect during the test?
Before the private ultrasound scan, our sonographer will explain the examination procedure.
This early baby scan is normally performed either transabdominally or transvaginally. In some instances, an internal or vaginal ultrasound may be required to see all the necessary detail or if your womb tilts backwards.
We will always try to scan trans-abdominally first but if we need to do a trans-vaginal scan then we will discuss this with you.
To perform this private scan, you will be asked to lie down on the examination couch and expose your lower abdomen.
A small amount of water-based gel will be applied to your skin. The gel will help the transducer to make good contact with the skin. The ultrasound transducer will be placed on the body and will be moved in different directions over the area of interest to obtain the required information/ultrasound images.
There is usually no discomfort from the procedure. However, if scanning is performed over an area of tenderness, you may feel pressure or minor discomfort from the transducer or probe as it is sometimes known.
Once the high-frequency ultrasound scanning is completed, the clear ultrasound gel will be wiped off your skin. Any portions that are not wiped off will dry quickly. The ultrasound gel does not usually stain or discolour clothing.
This ultrasound examination is usually completed within 10-15 minutes. After an ultrasound examination, you should be able to resume your normal activities immediately.
What if I were to receive unexpected news?
Unfortunately, very often the ultrasound scan findings might show that the pregnancy is not progressing as expected. There are multiple reasons for this such as dating discrepancy or due to the health of the pregnancy such as a miscarriage.
We follow the national guidelines and depending on the findings we will recommend the appropriate referral pathway.
Sometimes you may have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound scan.
What Is a Transvaginal Ultrasound?
A transvaginal ultrasound also called an endovaginal ultrasound, is a type of pelvic ultrasound used by doctors to examine the female reproductive organs such as the uterus fallopian tubes ovaries, cervix, and vagina.
“Transvaginal” means “through the vagina.” This is an internal examination.
Unlike a regular abdominal or pelvic ultrasound, where the ultrasound probe rests on the outside of the pelvis, this procedure involves your doctor or sonographer inserting an ultrasound probe about 2 or 3 inches into your vaginal canal.
Transvaginal ultrasound might be offered at the early weeks of pregnancy when the abdominal imaging approach is suboptimal and more information about foetal viability and wellbeing is required.
How should I prepare for a transvaginal ultrasound?
No preparation is required for this scan.
Once you’re in the examination room, you will have to remove your clothes from the waist down and covered with a paper sheet or gown.
What happens during a transvaginal ultrasound?
When it’s time to begin the procedure, you lie down on your back on the exam table and bend your knees. There may or may not be stirrups.
The ultrasound transducer will be covered with a probe cover and sterile lubricating ultrasound gel, and then inserts it into your vagina.
You might feel some pressure as your doctor inserts the transducer. This feeling is similar to the pressure felt during a Pap smear when your doctor inserts a speculum into your vagina.
Once the transducer is inside you, high-frequency sound waves bounce off your internal organs and transmit pictures of the inside of your pelvis onto a monitor.
The ultrasound probe will be moved in different directions as to obtain the best ultrasound images possible.
If you prefer, you may insert the transducer yourself, otherwise, the person conducting the examination will do this.
A third person may be present during the examination acting as a chaperone if required by the sonographer or yourself.
You may request the examination to be stopped at any time during the procedure.
Read more about the transvaginal scan.
Is an internal vaginal ultrasound necessary during a routine pregnancy ultrasound?
It is only necessary if the abdominal ultrasound is inconclusive.
Can I have an internal ultrasound if I am bleeding?
It is absolutely fine to have an ultrasound while you are bleeding as far as you are comfortable with that.
Find more about the transvaginal ultrasound.
The early pregnancy baby scan is used to see how far along in your pregnancy you are and check your baby’s development. This sonography test can routinely detect a baby’s heartbeat from as early as 6-7 weeks and confirm the correct dates of your pregnancy.
You can see the baby on the screen from 6 weeks – At this stage the pregnancy is of course small, but we should be able to see the gestation sac with a yolk sac developing in your uterus. We should also be able to see your baby’s heartbeat on scan, which is very reassuring.
At 5 weeks pregnant you will be able to see a small gestation sac in the uterus.
At 6 weeks pregnant within the uterus you will be able to see a small gestation sac and maybe a small yolk sac.
Between 6-7 weeks a fetal pole might be seen. Foetal pole is the start of seeing a baby but still measuring only a few millimeters with a heartbeat and the chances of pregnancy continuing are high, close to 80%.
At 7 weeks gestation, the baby usually measures 10 – 20 mm and the heartbeat can be seen.
At 8 weeks pregnant, the baby measures between 20 and 30 mm and the heartbeat is clearly visible. The chances of the pregnancy continuing in that stage is 98%
At 10 weeks pregnant the baby is now between 35 and 40mm and if the baby heartbeat can be seen the chances of the pregnancy continuing is 99.4%. At 11+ weeks pregnant the baby is now measuring around 45mm and the head, body, arms and legs can be seen. The heart, the stomach, bladder and cord insertion may also be seen.
The foetal pole is the first direct imaging manifestation of the foetus and is seen as a thickening on the margin of the yolk sac during early pregnancy. It is often used synonymously with the term “embryo”.
Foetal pole or yolk sack can be seen from 6-7 weeks of gestation. In those cases where the foetal pole is not seen, a follow up scan will be recommended 7-10 days later.
Our diagnostic ultrasound machine is new and utilises the latest breakthrough high frequency ultrasound technologies to increase diagnostic accurancy and diagnostic confidence. Utilising up to date technology helps us to keep ultrasound exposure to the foetus and mothers as low as reasonably achievable.
NHS- Ultrasound Scans in Pregnancy
NHS – 12-week scan
ROOG – Guidance for antenatal screening and ultrasound in pregnancy in the evolving coronavirus pandemic
NICE – Antenatal care for uncomplicated pregnancies
BMUS – Guidelines for the safe use of diagnostic ultrasound equipment
Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology – ISUOG Practice Guidelines: performance of first‐trimester fetal ultrasound scan
Healthline – Pregnancy Ultrasound
WHO – WHO recommendation on early ultrasound in pregnancy