Your eight week ultrasound can be an exciting and apprehensive moment. If this is your first ultrasound you will be understandably anxious. Getting a glimpse of your baby for the first time is big. It’s important to remember that you have control of any decisions made about your pregnancy. You are allowed to refuse any tests suggested by a healthcare professional if you feel unsure about them. If you don’t understand something that has been suggested for you, always ask for more information. Pregnancy healthcare professionals are used to lots of questions so ask away! The purpose of an 8 week ultrasound From anywhere between eight and 12 weeks pregnant, your healthcare professional might suggest that you schedule your first ultrasound appointment. This is also called your “dating” scan. The main reason for this scan is to confirm the gestational age of your baby. This date is based on your baby’s size and will be a very close estimation. Some eight week ultrasounds might be performed for other reasons, including: If you are experiencing bleeding If multiple pregnancies are suspected To check the size of your embryo To confirm that your baby has a heartbeat To check the health of your ovaries and fallopian tubes To rule out an ectopic pregnancy or other problems If you have just discovered you are pregnant but you aren’t sure when you became pregnant your chosen healthcare professional might also recommend an ultrasound. Eight weeks pregnant is an early stage to perform an ultrasound and you wouldn’t ordinarily need one so early. What to expect during your 8 week ultrasound Depending on your healthcare professional and your personal preferences, your eight week ultrasound can be performed using a wand across your abdomen or another type of wand inside your vagina. A vaginal ultrasound is helpful if your bladder isn’t full enough or your uterus is still too small to see. At this point in your pregnancy, an ultrasound can confirm that your baby is healthy and progressing as it should be. If you are having twins (or more), you might be able to see multiple yolk sacs and multiple heartbeats. However, as it is still early days one baby may be missed at this stage. Don’t be afraid to ask your sonographer questions. If this is your first ultrasound it’s very normal that you would be curious about what you see on screen. Your baby at 8 weeks At eight weeks pregnant, your baby will measure about 1.6 centimetres and it will be losing its little tadpole tail. Keep in mind that your baby’s big forehead and tiny body will still make him or her look rather disproportionate at this stage. Your little one will also start to make involuntary movements, similar to a slight flicker or a jump. These movements are extremely tiny so you won’t be able to feel them. Inside and out, a number of your baby’s body parts will start to become more defined as well, including their: Nose Lips Eyelids Arms Legs Bones The valves and air passages in their heart Every pregnant woman is offered ultrasound scans during pregnancy. However, the number and timeline will be different for each woman. Your ultrasound schedule will depend a few key factors, including: The progression and health of your pregnancy Your personal preferences Your chosen healthcare professional Whether you will be giving birth in a public or private hospital Your medical history Your health insurance policy If you didn’t have an ultrasound last week, your nine week ultrasound will likely be scheduled to assess the gestational age of your baby. If you’re not sure when your last menstrual period (LMP) was, a scan at nine weeks will be able to confirm your approximate date of conception. Your first ultrasound can be a very emotional experience so it’s a good idea to take along your partner or close family member for support. The purpose of a 9 week ultrasound Depending on your unique pregnancy, your chosen healthcare professional may schedule an earlier ultrasound at nine weeks for a few different reasons. If this is your first ultrasound, it will give you the opportunity to accurately determine your due date. Especially if you haven’t tracked when your LMP was. Knowing how far along you are in your pregnancy is important. At some point between 11 and 13 weeks your healthcare professional will suggest conducting a Nuchal Translucency (NT) scan. This scan tests for Down syndrome and for accurate results, you need to know how far along you are. If you have miscarried a previous pregnancy or you have experienced some level of vaginal bleeding over the last nine weeks, you may also be offered an ultrasound. This scan can confirm whether your pregnancy is progressing healthily. What to expect during your 9 week ultrasound This ultrasound may be conducted vaginally or externally on your abdomen. Know that if your healthcare professional has officially referred you for an early scan Medicare will cover it. At nine weeks, you will be able to see your baby’s head, body and limbs. You will also be able to hear your little one’s heart beat for the first time with a Doppler monitor. Bring some tissues with you; this can be a very emotional moment. It’s also important to understand that miscarrying during the first three months of pregnancy is quite common. If your ultrasound shows that your baby is growing slowly, or has a lower than average heartbeat your chances of miscarrying are high. If you have been experiencing pain or vaginal bleeding, you might be somewhat prepared for this news. However, no matter how prepared you think you may be, hearing your miscarriage suspicions confirmed is likely to be a distressing experience. Your baby at 9 weeks At nine weeks, your baby will measure approximately 2.5 centimetres. The foetus will resemble a green olive and weigh less than 2 grams. Your little one’s eyes will have grown larger and even have some colour, but their eyelids will still be fused shut. Your ultrasound may be able to show you the beginnings of what will be your little one’s fingers and toes too. If you have not yet had any type of pregnancy ultrasound and you are around 12 weeks pregnant, your maternity care provider may suggest you have one. There are many reasons for having an ultrasound at this stage, but one of the most common is to screen for one of the congenital chromosomal abnormalities – Trisomy 21, otherwise known as Down Syndrome. This means that there is an extra chromosome – 21 contained in every cell of the body. People with Down Syndrome have physical and intellectual disabilities. Older women are more at risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome. When a woman is 12 weeks pregnant her risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome can be fairly accurately assessed. When a foetus has Down syndrome they tend to have more fluid at the base of their neck, in the region known as the nuchal fold area. This fluid can be measured in a test called nuchal translucency. A foetus with Down Syndrome has a measurement which is thicker than in those who do not. It is worth remembering though, that a larger than average nuchal fold measurement is not a guarantee that the baby will have chromosomal problems. Other tests for Down Syndrome need to be done if in doubt. In addition, blood tests such as a Chorion Villus Sampling test or an amniocentesis help to clarify any suspicions. I can see my baby! The 12 week ultrasound may be the first time parents have seen their little baby. So this is an exciting, if a little nerve-wracking time. It’s completely normal for parents to consider the possibility that their baby may not be developing as it needs to and perhaps build apprehension before the procedure. After all, this is one of the reasons why a 12 week ultrasound is recommended. One of the benefits of having an ultrasound so early in pregnancy is that if complications are found, then parents may be given a choice of continuing with the pregnancy or not. Medical recommendations around this issue are very important. Ethical, religious and personal belief systems also need to be carefully balanced and weighed up. Parents need to feel as if they are fully informed and comfortable with the explanations provided by the sonographer doing the 12 week ultrasound. Follow up care by the healthcare team are equally as important. What is a first trimester screening test? Maternity care providers will often suggest a pregnant mother has a blood test taken when she is 10 weeks pregnant. This is specifically to conduct a measurement of pregnancy hormones. If chromosomal abnormalities are present, these results can be out of the normal range. These blood tests, in combination with the 12 week ultrasound, provide what is known as “A First Trimester Screening Test”. A mother’s age, including the results from the blood test, and the findings of the ultrasound all provide an individualised picture of her risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome. This screening test is not a definite diagnosis of chromosomal problems, but rather provides a risk assessment. If there are concerns, then further testing can be done. How will they do the 12 week ultrasound? The 12 week ultrasound is generally done via the mother’s abdomen. It’s not always necessary to have a full bladder, however the individual sonographer may recommend that you have a partially full bladder. This will help to lift your uterus up out of your pelvis so it is easier to see the foetus. Sometimes it is necessary to do a vaginal ultrasound. This will lead to even clearer images. Reasons to have a 12 week ultrasound To check that the foetus is developing as it should be. The measurements of the foetus’s skull – the Biparietal distance is calculated and compared against standard lengths for foetuses at similar gestational ages. To see if the foetus has a heartbeat. This should be clearly detectable at the 12 week ultrasound. To confirm pregnancy dates and estimate the date of delivery. To check for multiple foetuses and confirm if one or more is present. To check the size of the foetus and developing placenta. To measure the amount of fluid at the base of the foetus’s neck and make an individualised risk assessment of them having Down Syndrome. The sound waves from the ultrasound return echo free measurements. This is because of the space which is translucent due to its fluid content. To check for other physical abnormalities in the foetus. To check the uterus, fallopian tubes and pelvic region for other complications. What else is measured during a 12 week ultrasound? The foetus’s length, specifically from its head to its bottom. This is known as a Crown Rump length. A general check of the mother and foetus’s internal organs and structures. Many parents are amazed by the amount of detail they can see at the 12 week ultrasound. They are also surprised by their foetus’s movements and agility. Of course, at 12 weeks gestation it is too early for a pregnant mother to be aware of her baby moving. And it can be a strange sensation when looking at the monitor and seeing movement but not being able to physically detect it. Many parents feel an instant emotional connection with their baby when they see it for the first time. It’s not uncommon for fathers to say that until they 12 week ultrasound, the whole pregnancy idea was a little foreign and somehow not real. But being able to see their baby rather than talking about it and having to use their imagination, makes all the difference. When will I know if everything’s alright with my 12 week ultrasound? You should be told straightaway if everything is going well. If you have had your biochemistry blood tests taken before the ultrasound and these results are back, then you should be able to have these results as well straight after your ultrasound is finished. Many maternity healthcare providers recommend mothers have the blood test at 10 weeks gestation. The sonographer will be able talk their way through the procedure and turn the screen so that you can see what they are looking at during the ultrasound. There may also be a separate monitor for you and your partner to look at. If you want explanation, then just ask the sonographer to tell you what they are checking. If they are unsure or want clarification they will often request a colleague come into the room and have a look at the ultrasound. Obviously, this can be a pretty unnerving process especially if you’ve not had any reason to believe that there are any complications. How accurate is the first trimester screening test? At the current time, the combined First Trimester Screening is thought to be the most accurate test for Down Syndrome. For those women whose results return a high risk of carrying an embryo with Down Syndrome the next stage is generally Chorionic Villus Sampling or an Amniocentesis. Having a low risk result for the First Trimester Screening Test does not give a 100% guarantee that there will not be a chromosomal abnormality. What it does is categorise a pregnancy into an increased or decreased risk. How long will my 12 week ultrasound take? Generally, bookings of 30 minutes are made. This allows the sonographer enough time to do a thorough and comprehensive check and assessment. Try not to squeeze your appointment time between a lot of other tasks you need to achieve in the same day. Put aside some time before and after your ultrasound so you can make it to the appointment in plenty of time, and have the chance to reflect on it afterwards. Ask your partner to be with you on the day, and aim to enjoy this as an event you can both share. Some couples choose to bring their parents along as well, and view this as an opportunity to meet their grandchild for the first time. How you manage this is your choice, just be mindful that ultrasound rooms can be quite small, so accommodating more than a couple of people can present a practical challenge. Are 12 week ultrasounds part of my routine pregnancy care? Ultrasounds during pregnancy are routinely offered because they provide such an excellent means of diagnosing problems if they are present. They are also low risk, non –invasive and relatively low cost considering the amount of information they give. But you are entirely free to make your own choices regarding whether you want to have pregnancy ultrasounds or not. Some parents feel very strongly that having an ultrasound is not right for them. Part of their reasoning is that if abnormalities are found, then they may be put into a position of having to make decisions based around these findings. Some parents choose to wait until the screening ultrasound at 18-20 weeks and feel that at 12 weeks it is still too early to be able to see much of their baby’s development. If you are in any doubt, then speak with your maternity care provider about your own individual needs.
It is quite common for women to have their first pregnancy scan at around 7 weeks of pregnancy. The most common reasons for this early baby scan is to confirm the pregnancy, to check viability and that everything is ok. Other reasons to have a 7-week ultrasound are to: Confirm whether it is a singleton or multiple pregnancies. Confirm gestational age Spotting or bleeding Confirm the presence of a heartbeat. Measure the foetal pole and ensure the size of the baby is the right size for gestational age. Make sure the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are ok. Confirm the foetal pole is within the endometrial cavity and it is not an ectopic pregnancy When a mother has irregular periods and is therefore unsure about her gestational age. When is a dating scan necessary? This is a scan or ultrasound which determines your expected date of confinement (EDC) based on the development of the embryo. A dating scan is generally done for women who: unsure about their last menstrual period. Have irregular cycles Recently had a miscarriage and have soon conceived again. Stopped using hormonal contraception. Have conceived while they are breastfeeding. In any other situation such as multiple partners, where confirming gestational age is considered important. How big will my baby be at the 7-week ultrasound? The average crown to rump length of the embryo at 7 weeks is between 5mm-12mm. Crown/rump length and gestational age are closely compared with each other until around the end of the first trimester. When should I have my earliest scan? The ideal time to assess the gestation age is between 7-10 weeks of pregnancy. The crown-rump length measurements obtained at this gestational age can vary between 3-5 days. How will my 7-week ultrasound be done? This early baby scan is normally performed trans-abdominally. In some instances, however an internal scan (Transvaginal) 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 transvaginal ultrasound scan then we will discuss this with you. To perform this early baby 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 pressure as the transducer or probe as otherwise known, is pressed against the area being examined. However, if scanning is performed over an area of tenderness, you may feel pressure or minor discomfort from the transducer. Once the ultrasound imaging 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 20-30 minutes. After an ultrasound examination, you should be able to resume your normal activities immediately. Can I see my baby’s heartbeat at the seven-week ultrasound? Heartbeat should be visible at 7+ weeks gestation and you should be able to see a tubular flickering structure. The baby's heart rate at this early stage of pregnancy is fast and it is between 90-110 beats per minute. Will my seven-week ultrasound be really clear? The image quality of your pregnancy ultrasound scan will depend in the quality of the ultrasound equipment and also the experience and skills of the sonographer. At International Ultrasound Services we have years of ultrasound scanning experience and therefore you can rest assured that we will achieve the best image quality possible without compromising the safety of the baby or mother. If you have any questions please leave a comment and we will do our best to answer. At our private ultrasound clinic, we offer pregnancy scans from as early as 5-6 weeks in times to suit you. Who interprets the results of the early pregnancy scan and how do I get them? Our Sonographer, a Health Care Professional specifically trained to perform and understand the ultrasound images, will do your exam and provide you with a written report that you can take it your your doctor. Our sonographers will also discuss the results with you during and after your examination. It is very common that sometimes when you leave you remember of a question that you forgot to ask, so please don't hesitate to contact us either via phone or e-mail and we will do our best to answer your question. What are the benefits and risks of the early pregnancy ultrasound examination? Benefits The early pregnancy, reassurance scan is non-invasive. If a transvaginal scan is required the ultrasound exam might be a little uncomfortable but not painful. Ultrasound examinations are significantly cheaper than other diagnostic imaging modalities. Ultrasound imaging is safe for the baby and the mother as there is no ionizing radiation involved. You can not see the baby using conventional x-ray imaging. Ultrasound is the preferred imaging investigation for the diagnosis and monitoring of pregnancies. Ultrasound allows the sonographer to see inside the uterus in real time and provides neccesary information about the pregnancy. Risks There are no harmful effects on humans or babies related to pregnancy ultrasound examinations. Although ultrasound has been used in pregnancy for more than 40 years with no evidence suggestining it is harmful to the patient, embryo or fetus, ultrasound should be performed only when clinically indicated and by qualified practitioners. About Pregnancy Scans A pregnancy ultrasound scan is the same as a ‘normal’ scans but is being used to evaluate the overall health of your baby instead of looking at other organs such as gallbladder for gallstones or kidney for kidney stones. So in pregnancy ultrasound scans are being used to visualise the baby, the placenta, the uterus and cervix and your ovaries.Pregnancy ultrasound scans or prenatal ultrasounds are very common and being carried in any stage of the pregnancy. When Is an Ultrasound Performed During Pregnancy? You will normally offered two ultrasound scans during your pregnancy from the NHS. The first pregnancy scan is at 12 weeks and called a dating scan. The second pregnancy scan is at 20 weeks and called an anomaly scan.Most of the expectant mothers, especially the ones with previous complications such as miscarriage they do not believe that 2 ultrasound scans during pregnancy are enough and this is the reason they choose to have a private pregnancy scan in London with us. What are ultrasound scans used for in pregnancy? Depending on your stage of pregnancy, ultrasounds will be used to give you and your doctor or midwife answers about your pregnancy. First Trimester Ultrasounds Check that you are pregnant and that your baby has a heartbeat. Check if you have a singleton or twins Make sure that the pregnancy is not an ectopic located within the endometrial cavity and is not outside the womb such as in the fallopian tube. Look for the cause of any bleeding you might have. Date the pregnancy by measuring the crown rump length of the foetal pole. Second Trimester Ultrasounds Verify dates and growth Estimate the baby's risk of Down's syndrome by measuring fluid at the back of your baby’s neck between about 10 weeks and 14 weeks Help with diagnostic tests by showing the position of the baby and placenta. Check your baby to see if all his organs are normal. Diagnose abnormalities Assess the amount of amniotic fluid and the location of the placenta. Evaluation of fetal well-being Third trimester Ultrasounds Make sure your baby is growing at the expected rate. Confirm if your baby is a boy or a girl. Some mothers to be, will, unfortunatelly get various complications during pregnancy such as high blood pressure, kidney infections and abnormal liver function tests. As ultrasound scans are pregnancy friendly your doctor wight refer you for an abdominal/liver scan or a kidney scan to check for anything that might explain your symptoms.Although these ultrasound scans are not pregnancy scans, they are related to pregnancy and in most cases all the complications resolve after delivery. But like everything else related to your health and your baby’s health: better safe than sorry. What can be seen during the early scan: At 5 weeks gestation (i.e 3 weeks after convception) a small gestation sac might be visible. At 6 weeks, the yolk sac, the embryo (foetal pole) and the heart beat might be visible. At 7 weeks the embryo will be around 10mm with fast heart beat. At 8 weeks, the embryo will be around 16mm and the body and the head might be distinguisable. Embryonic movement might also seen. At 9 weeks, the embryo is now a foetus and head, body and limbs start to form. Why choose us for your early pregnancy ultrasound scan in London? We are conveniently located in the heart of London, just a few minutes’ walk from Notting Hill Gate station, in a cobbled cul-de-sac off Kensington Mall in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. We offer same day and emergency after hours and weekend appointments in a clean and caring environment, to suit your needs. Unlike some of our competitors we provide you with a report while you wait to fast track any potential treatment. We have years of experience in medical ultrasound scanning. Experience gained working for flagship NHS trusts alongside leaders in the field of diagnostic medical imaging including general ultrasound, pregnancy, urology, musculoskeletal, gynaecology, pelvis, testicular and vascular examinations. You can, therefore be assured that your health is in good hands. Our range of ultrasound examinations include the abdomen, pelvis, kidneys, bladder, prostate, ovary, testicle, scrotal, knee, shoulder, groin, ankle, wrist to name a few. We are also experts in pregnancy ultrasound and we regularly rotate through our hospital EPU that mainly deals with recurrent miscarriage. Our full range of scans can be viewed via the site menu. Our competitively priced private ultrasound scan services and personalised service is second to none and this is the reason our clients recommend us to friends and family. About Ultrasound Diagnostic Medical ultrasound scan or medical sonography as otherwise known is a painless imaging technique utilising sound waves to produce internal images of the body.It is called ultrasound as the sound frequency being used is at the region of 1 to 20MHz. The human ear cant can’t hear these frequencies.The sound waves are produced by the transducer or the probe as most commonly known. As they travel through the body they bounce back to the transducer due to various sound transmissions differences in tissues. The returning echoes are picked up by the probe and a powerful computer analyses the echoes and creates the 2d image on the screen.There are various kinds of ultrasound scans that can be performed and each looks at different organs of the body such as tendons, muscles, joints, blood vessels, liver, kidneys, uterus and ovaries to confirm or exclude possible pathology.Unlike Ct and MRI, ultrasound does not use radiation and therefore is pregnancy friendly. It is also live and is ideal for musculo-skeletal exams to evaluate moving joints. Looking for an pregnancy reassurance ultrasound scan in London? IUS London specialises in diagnostic private ultrasound scans to provide you with quick diagnosis and the much-needed reassurance about your health, within a convenient location. The cost of a private ultrasound scan shouldn’t be prohibited when it comes to someone’s wellbeing. This is why our prices are competitive and affordable with no compromise to the level of care. The price you see is the price you pay with no hidden extras. We have hundreds of happy clients including GP’s, consultants, radiologists and midwives to name a few. Some of our clients choose us when large, well established ultrasound scanning companies failed them in diagnostic accuracy and especially aftercare. We offer ultrasound scan appointments via our online booking system or on the phone. We do not charge a deposit or a cancellation fee as we care more about our clients and we respect their decision to decide what is best for them without concern about the ultrasound scan deposit they already paid. Emergency Early Ultrasound Scan Service in London Our ultrasound scan clinic in London now offers emergency on-call ultrasound services.We understand that health problems can arise any time of day and night. The NHS does not always compliment their physical examination with an emergency ultrasound scan due to availability of equipment and staff.If you were to require an emergency ultrasound scan, whether it be late evening during weekends and Saturdays or all day Sunday then please call 07539 290816 in order to see our availability and arrange a convenient time.Please see our emergency ultrasound scan page for more information.