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Early Pregnancy Viability Scan

An Early Pregnancy Viability Scan can be helpful if you feel a bit worried or just want to make sure that all is well with your baby.

This scan is advised for women over 35, and strongly recommended for women over 40. It is particularly important to have this scan if you have had vaginal bleeding or suspect an ectopic pregnancy.

An Early Pregnancy Viability Scan is helpful if you want to make sure that all is well

When is the scan performed?
Viability scans are easily performed at 7 weeks – 11 weeks of pregnancy. If you are having the scan because of a concern about a possible ectopic pregnancy, this scan can be conducted at 6 weeks – 7 weeks.

What will I learn from the scan?
A Viability Scan is also sometimes called a Dating Scan, as it can be used to establish the number of weeks of pregnancy. It can also show you how many embryos there are, confirm the presence of a heartbeat, and indicate the size of the sac or the embryo.

It can also show if there is any internal bleeding which may be significant and which may need to be carefully monitored. At this stage it is unlikely that you will be able to see a heart beating but the consultant or sonographer will be able to confirm that the sac is in the uterus.

Early Pregnancy Viability Scan

Early Pregnancy Viability Scan Picture
(Click image to enlarge)

How is the scan performed and how long does it take?
If you are having a Viability Scan at 7-11 weeks it can be performed trans-abdominally (through the tummy). If you are having the scan at 6-7 weeks because of a concern about a possible ectopic pregnancy, it would need to be performed trans-vaginally. In either case, the scan usually takes about 5-10 minutes.

Do I need to prepare for the scan?
It is advisable to come to the appointment with a full bladder as this will improve the visibility of the scan when performed through the tummy.

What do I get at the end of the scan (pictures/DVD)?
At the end of an Early Pregnancy Viability Scan you will be able to take a picture of the little baby home with you.

Early Pregnancy Viability Scan Video
(Click image to play)

Should I have the scan with a consultant or sonographer?
If you are having a normal pregnancy, then in most cases a scan by a fully qualified, experienced sonographer is fine. If however, you are experiencing complications with your pregnancy or need a second opinion, a scan with an obstetrics consultant is recommended.

How much will it cost?
The cost of this scan is likely to depend upon whether you schedule it on a weekday or a weekend (more expensive), and whether it is performed by a sonographer or an obstetrics consultant. Prices range from about £100 to £150.

Related Resource: List of high quality private pregnancy scan clinics in the UK