Early dating ultrasound scan




What is the purpose of the dating scan?

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This is a scan or ultrasound which determines your expected date of confinement EDC based on the development of the embryo. The limbs and the yolk sac, though obviously important, are not the primary means of measuring growth. An average length of the embryo at 7 weeks is anywhere between 5mmmm. The average weight is less than 1 gram. Obviously, every pregnancy is unique and individual factors influence the size of the embryo at this early stage, and the embryo shows development week by week.

Early Pregnancy Scan (6 -14 weeks)

The ideal time for a sonographer to assess the gestational age in the first trimester is between weeks of pregnancy. This is the period of time which provides the most accurate assessment. Generally, ultrasounds which are performed in the first trimester are within days of being accurate in terms of assessing gestational age.

This is because although every little embryo is unique, there are still defining characteristics of development which apply to all embryos at particular stages of early gestational development. As the embryo matures to a foetus, individual genetics and growth factors influence its growth. This is why an early pregnancy dating scan, rather than one done in the later stages of pregnancy, is considered more accurate when assessing the expected date of delivery. With maturity, the size of the baby correlates less to its age than in the early weeks. There are two ways of having a seven week ultrasound.

One is via the abdomen — transabdominally and the other is through the vagina — transvaginally. All pregnant women in England are offered an ultrasound scan at around 8 to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

First Ultrasound at 6 weeks 3 days

This is called the dating scan. It's used to see how far along in your pregnancy you are and check your baby's development.

Why would I have a dating scan?

Your midwife or doctor will book you a dating scan appointment. It will usually take place at your local hospital ultrasound department. The person performing the scan is called a sonographer. You may need to have a full bladder for this scan, as this makes the ultrasound image clearer. You can ask your midwife or doctor before the scan if this is the case. Find out more about what happens during a pregnancy ultrasound scan. Some abnormalities may also be detected at this scan, such as neural tube defects spina bifida is a type of neural tube defect. It can also be performed to confirm the results of a pregnancy test or just to provide you with some reassurance that all is progressing as it should be.


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At MUMS we are very proud of our professional experienced and caring staff who will ensure that you receive the best care possible and give advice and support where appropriate. Your reasons for having an Early Pregnancy Scan are to: Early Pregnancy Scans are normally performed trans-abdominally through your tummy however an internal vaginal scan may be required at earlier gestations ie weeks to see all the necessary detail, or if your womb tilts backwards retroverted. We will always try to scan trans-abdominally first but if we need to do an internal scan then this will not be harmful in any way to the baby and would be discussed prior to having the scan.

week pregnancy dating scan - NHS

Ultrasound scans are painless but the gel used within the examination can feel a little cold and you may feel a little discomfort when the ultrasound probe presses on your tummy if you have a very full bladder. An ultrasound scan typcally takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and the images seen will determine whether a Trans-Vaginal ultrasound scan internal is needed. Your ultrasound scan will be carried out by one of our highly qualified professionals in a caring and comfortable environment.

During your scan we will explain the findings to you and following your scan we will give you your images and detailed report. If we cannot see a heartbeat then this is either due to the pregnancy being too early this is the commonest reason or that the pregnancy is found to be not viable.

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