Early Pregnancy Scan

Early pregnancy ultrasound scan

6-11 weeks gestation age – Viability – Reassurance Scan

Prenatal scans in the first trimester are being used to confirm a pregnancy and the unborn baby’s heartbeat. You may have vaginal bleeding or you are concerned because you had problems with a previous pregnancy.  The early pregnancy scan also is known as baby viability scan can provide the very much needed reassurance that the pregnancy is progressing normally with no abnormalities and it is not ectopic.

This pregnancy scan can detect the embryonic heartbeat as early as 6 weeks gestational age.

Reasons for the baby scan:

Reasons for having this baby reassurance scan 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 there is a baby heartbeat present
  • Calculate the gestation of pregnancy
  • Determine whether it is a singleton or multiple pregnancies
  • Bleeding/Spotting or any unusual pain

What is the purpose?

Purpose of this obstetric scan is:

  • To ensure the viability of the pregnancy by detecting a clear baby heart beat.
  • Ensure that the pregnancy is located within the uterus (not an ectopic pregnancy).
  • Detect whether it is single or multiple pregnancies.
  • General reassurance

What is included?

This private ultrasound includes: Report with a 2D b/w picture


Preparation for this pregnancy scan

We need a full bladder for this scan so you need to drink 1/2lt (1 pint) of water an hour before your scan.


What should I expect during the scan?

Before the private ultrasound scan, our sonographer will explain the examination procedure.

This obstetric ultrasound 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 diagnostic ultrasound, 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.

Things you might want to know

These are some of the most frequent questions our clients ask about early pregnancy ultrasound scans:

How soon can you get an early pregnancy scan?

The early pregnancy baby scan is used to see how far along in your pregnancy you are and check your baby’s development. This ultrasound scan can routinely detect a baby’s heartbeat as early as 6-7 weeks and confirm the correct dates of your pregnancy.

When can you see a baby on a scan?

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 be able to see your baby’s heartbeat on scan, which is very reassuring.

What can you expect to see on your early pregnancy scan?

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. The foetal pole is the start of seeing a baby but still measuring only a few millimetres 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 are 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 can be seen.

What is the fetal pole?

The fetal pole is the first direct imaging manifestation of the fetus 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”.

What does ‘no fetal pole or yolk sac seen’ mean?

Foetal pole or yolk sack can be seen from 7 weeks. In these cases where the yolk sack is not seen a follow-up scan will be recommended 7-10 days later.

What about your ultrasound scanner?

Our ultrasound scanner is brand new and utilises the latest breakthrough ultrasound technologies to increase diagnostic accuracy and diagnostic confidence. Utilising up to date technology helps to keep ultrasound expose to the foetus as low as reasonably possible


Other Pregnancy Ultrasounds we offer

Follicular Tracking Ultrasound Scan (Transvaginal Scan)

Detailed Growth Scan

Gender ultrasound scan