It is usually offered to pregnant women from 10 weeks to 13 weeks gestation, but can be carried out any time from 6 weeks. If you have had bleeding during your pregnancy or you have had previous miscarriages , your doctor or midwife may recommend an early dating scan from 6 to 10 weeks gestation. If you choose to have a dating scan, it will most probably be your first scan. You will need to get a referral from your doctor or midwife for a dating scan.
Week 8: Your Baby's First Ultrasound
A dating scan is carried out by ultrasound. A sonographer, who is usually a radiographer or a midwife trained in ultrasound, will complete your scan. If the scan is after 10 weeks, ultrasound recordings are usually made through your abdomen. The sonographer will put gel on your abdomen and move a hand-held device called a transducer, back and forward over your skin.
How is a dating scan performed?
In some situations, such as when the scan is completed before 10 weeks of gestation or you are overweight, you may also need a vaginal scan. Your sonographer will let you know if this is needed.
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For an abdominal dating ultrasound, you will need to have a full bladder. You may be asked to drink some water and not go to the toilet beforehand because a full bladder helps to push your womb up to give a better picture. For a vaginal scan, you can have an empty bladder. This will provide a fairly accurate estimate of how many weeks pregnant you are. But it is important to remember that only a few women go into labour on their due date, so it can be more helpful to think about the month in which you are expecting your baby, rather than the exact day.
Information on pregnancy ultrasound scans including when they are taken, what it can be used for, dating scans, anomaly scans, plus links to trusted resources. This Dads Guide to Pregnancy article covers early pregnancy scans and screening, plus normal fetal development and early miscarriage for men, by men. In the second trimester of pregnancy, you may be offered to have an morphology scan anomaly scan. Learn about what it looks for and when it is performed.
A nuchal translucency scan is part of the ultrasound scan that may give an indication of chromosomal abnormality. Learn more about how and when it is performed. During your pregnancy, you will be offered a number of tests and scans. The aim is always to check on the health of you and your baby, but it can sometimes be overwhelming and confusing.
Handy infographic that shows what you can expect at each antenatal appointment during your pregnancy. In the meantime, we will continue to update and add content to Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to meet your information needs. This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.
The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care.
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If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional. An ultrasound is a painless diagnostic test that relies on sound waves, and most women will have at least one during pregnancy.
Your first ultrasound will typically be done between 18 and 20 weeks, but you may have one before 12 weeks to confirm your due date. You may also have an earlier ultrasound -- or more than one -- if yours is a high-risk pregnancy, if you have any pain or bleeding, if you have a history of having children with birth defects, or if another prenatal test or exam shows something abnormal.
In addition, you'll have additional ultrasounds if you have a chronic illness such as diabetes or a history of ovarian cysts or fibroids. An ultrasound usually can be done in your practitioner's office or your local hospital. You will be asked to lie on your back while a technician rubs a warm gel on your belly. The gel allows the transducer a handheld device that looks like a microphone to slide more easily over your belly and improves the transmission of sound waves into your body. The sound waves bounce off various surfaces within your body -- including your baby -- as vibrations.
The echoes are translated into electrical signals that are projected as pictures onto a monitor for viewing.
Why would I have a dating scan?
An abdominal ultrasound poses no risk to you or your baby. In fact, there are many benefits to checking on your baby's development during pregnancy. If you need an ultrasound early in pregnancy, it may be necessary to use a vaginal probe a transducer placed in the vagina. This allows the technologist to view your uterus through the cervix. This method may also be used later in pregnancy to locate your placenta if it's over the cervix or to measure the length of the cervix.
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Vaginal probes may cause a sensation of pressure but shouldn't adversely affect your pregnancy. Your ultrasound in the 1st trimester can show your baby's heart rate, umbilical cord, and size, as well as the placenta.