If you’ve recently found out that you’re pregnant then you may be thinking about the best time to have your first pregnancy scan. Many women wait until the Nuchal Scan, but there are some good reasons to consider getting an earlier scan first.
What is an Early Pregnancy Scan?
Early scans are ultrasounds that are performed before the first routine scan offered by the NHS, which is the Nuchal Scan at around 12 weeks. Although you won’t be offered an early scan on the NHS, there are still some good reasons to arrange a private ultrasound early in your pregnancy. The best time to arrange your Early Pregnancy Scan is between 7 and 11 weeks. By 7 weeks it is possible to check on your baby with an abdominal scan, so there will be no need for an internal ultrasound. In some cases, it may be necessary to arrange an even earlier scan for medical reasons. This would have to be performed trans-vaginally.
Advantages of Early Pregnancy Scans
You might need to have an Early Pregnancy Scan for medical reasons if your Midwife or Obstetrician recommends it. However, there can be some non-medical benefits to having an early scan too as you get a chance to see that all is well with your baby.
- Find out how long you’ve been pregnant and get an accurate estimate of your due date as soon as possible
- Check that the pregnancy is viable and rule out ectopic pregnancy, which is especially important if you’ve had these kinds of issues during previous pregnancies
- Investigate symptoms such as bleeding or pain
- Find out if you’re expecting twins or more
- Confirm that all is well if you’re having a higher risk pregnancy, for example because you are over 35 or have other health issues
- Reassure yourself that all is well if you’ve been feeling anxious
- Get your first scan pictures and videos as soon as possible
- See your baby for the first time, without having to wait until the nuchal scan
Are There Any Reasons Not to Have an Early Pregnancy Scan?
Ultrasound scans are completely safe during pregnancy, so there is no medical reason not to have an Early Pregnancy Scan. However, you might decide that this scan isn’t right for you if:
- You think that having the scan would make you feel more anxious
- You’re feeling tired or having symptoms such as morning sickness that mean it is more important for you to rest at home than to visit the clinic for an extra scan
- You prefer to wait and have the first scan a bit later when we can provide more information about your baby’s health
- You want to have the first scan at the same time as NIPT, which we can perform after 10 weeks