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5-11 Week Early Pregnancy Ultrasound Scan

Every pregnancy is unique, but for some women the first few weeks can, understandably, be an anxious time. An early pregnancy ultrasound scan can provide much needed reassurance that everything is proceeding as it should be. 

We offer ultrasound scans between 5-11 weeks of your pregnancy and no referral is needed. Our scans are safe, highly accurate, and carried out by our senior sonographer, who is a specialist in early pregnancy scans and pregnancy complications.


What is an early pregnancy ultrasound scan for?

An early pregnancy scan, also known as a viability or dating ultrasound scan, allows us to confirm your pregnancy, check that it’s viable, and give you an accurate due date. 

This first scan is incredibly helpful if you have had complications in the past such as an ectopic pregnancy or recurrent miscarriages, or if you are concerned about spotting or bleeding. It’s also recommended for women over 35 or those undergoing fertility treatment. 


How early can you have a pregnancy ultrasound scan?

We understand how it can often be an agonising wait for the first routine 12 week scan if you are pregnant, and an earlier ultrasound can help to set your mind at ease. You can book an appointment for an early pregnancy ultrasound at our clinic five weeks from the first day of your last missed period, and there is no need for a referral.

7 week ultrasound scan

Between 5-10 weeks we usually carry out a transvaginal ultrasound - a pain free and safe option - offering higher resolution images and greater accuracy than an abdominal scan. However, from 10 weeks onward, we recommend an abdominal ultrasound (over the belly) as it provides greater clarity and detail. 

What happens during an early pregnancy ultrasound scan?

Our ultrasound appointments last for around 30 minutes, giving you plenty of time to ask questions and discuss what will happen with our sonographer. Once you're completely comfortable and relaxed, she will smoothly insert a slim, gel-covered probe smoothly into your vagina, or place it over your tummy, depending on the type of scan you are having. 



The probe works by emitting high frequency sound waves to create images from inside your uterus. You will be able to see the images of your baby on screen and our sonographer will talk through them in detail with you. 

Afterwards she will send a detailed report to your doctor or specialist within 24 hours and the images will be available to access online. 

What can be seen during an early pregnancy ultrasound scan?

An early pregnancy scan is not routinely offered by the NHS unless you’ve had issues in previous pregnancies, but it can offer valuable and highly reassuring information for both you and your doctor. 

Confirm your pregnancy and check its viability
Establish the gestation age of the embryo/baby
See if there’s more than one embryo
Make sure the embryo is implanted in the correct place, thus ruling out an ectopic pregnancy
Detect a heartbeat from as early as 6 weeks
Determine the causes of any bleeding or spotting

Should I have an early pregnancy scan if I’m bleeding?

Bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy is extremely common, but it can understandably cause a great deal of worry and anxiety. Our specialist sonographer is a leading expert in prenatal scans, and can assess any internal bleeding which may require further monitoring or specialist input. 

She can also help rule out any complications and set your mind at ease, allowing you to relax during those first few weeks, before the 12 week scan. 


What are the other reasons for having an early pregnancy scan?

An early pregnancy scan can be really helpful if you would simply like the reassurance that your pregnancy is established and viable. But also having a scan from an experienced sonographer can put your mind at ease if you’ve been having pain or other concerning symptoms. 

We also recommend an early pregnancy scan if you are over 35, or have had fertility treatment, as well as if you have had a miscarriage in the past, or other complications. 

If you’re unsure of your pregnancy dates, our sonographer can establish how many weeks pregnant you are, by taking measurements and examining the ultrasound images. These can provide an invaluable guide to what you can expect during the following months and help lay the foundations for your prenatal care. 

7 week ultrasound scan

When will you need your next ultrasound scan or further tests?

Your next pregnancy scan will usually be the 12 week Nuchal Translucency Scan which tests for the likelihood of Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal conditions. At this scan your sonographer will also check for the presence of other foetal abnormalities. 

The Nuchal Translucency Scan carries an 85% accuracy rate for the detection of Down’s syndrome. But if you would like a test with a higher detection rate, we also provide Non Invasive Prenatal Tests (NIPT) to screen for potential congenital abnormalities. 

These tests are simple and safe, and can be part of an early pregnancy ultrasound, with an added blood test. They can be carried out at around 9 weeks of pregnancy. 


What if the scan delivers unexpected news?

We always hope that your early pregnancy scan will be a positive experience, but it is not uncommon for the sonographer to detect certain complications at this stage. This may be related to the health of the pregnancy or due to uncertainty over pregnancy dates. They can also be due to: 

  • An ectopic pregnancy where the embryo is growing in the Fallopian tubes 
  • No heartbeat in the embryo (sometimes referred to as a missed miscarriage)
  • No visible embryo, but a visible sac. In this instance you may be invited for a later scan within two weeks, to check if your pregnancy is viable


We understand how hard it can be to process information you weren’t expecting during a pregnancy scan and our sonographer is there to answer any questions.  If you wish, you can make an appointment with one of our specialist Consultant Gynaecologists to have a discussion about the findings of your ultrasound scan and to decide on your next steps. 


Make an appointment for your early pregnancy scan

If you would like to visit our clinic for an early pregnancy scan, please call 020 7244 4200 or make an appointment online.