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5-11 Week Early Pregnancy Scan

An early pregnancy scan, offered between weeks 5 and 11 of pregnancy, is also known as a first trimester viability scan, or a dating scan. It is not routinely offered by the NHS but is available in London at our private clinic, The Medical Chambers Kensington. Many of our patients, who have experience of healthcare in the USA or the rest of Europe, are used to the early pregnancy scan being a routine part of their pregnancy care.

Why have an early pregnancy scan?

An early pregnancy scan allows us to:

confirm pregnancy 
check pregnancy is viable 
check for ectopic pregnancy or other complications 
date pregnancy (this is the most accurate dating scan)
identify multiple pregnancies (twins or more) 

The first ultrasound scan in pregnancy is often taken up by women with a history of previous problems, such as ectopic pregnancy or recurrent miscarriages, and by women undergoing assisted reproductive techniques such as IVF. It is also requested for early reassurance or accurate dating, when there is no history of previous problems.

You can come to us for an early pregnancy scan from week 5 of pregnancy, which is 1 day after the first day of your missed period. We are happy to see you with or without a doctor's referral.

What to expect during your appointment

An early pregnancy scan takes around 30 minutes and is carried out by either our specialist prenatal sonographer Ms Ciara McKenna or our doctor Dr David Nyberg who specialises in prenatal diagnosis. You will be able to see the images of your baby on screen and your specialist will talk through them in detail with you, and advise you about what you need to do next.

Our prenatal doctor and sonographer will review and discuss the ultrasound images before sending a report to your doctor within 24 hours. We'll give you a copy of your report shortly after your appointment, or we can send one by email.

We will also send you a link so you can go online to view and download a selection of images from your scan, making it easy to share with friends and family.

What is a viability scan

At The Medical Chambers Kensington, as well as pregnancy scans, we offer pregnancy genetic tests, also known as Non Invasive Prenatal Tests (NIPTs), which look at your baby’s chromosomes to screen for potential congenital anomalies. These tests can nowadays be done from week 9 or 10 of pregnancy and results are normally received within 5 to 7 days. This means you can get the results of your chosen NIPT even before having your 12-week scan.

However, our golden rule is to go ahead with your NIPT only when a scan has confirmed that all is going well at that point of your pregnancy. This is why we offer a “viability” scan on the same day as your blood draw. It usually takes about 15 minutes and gives reassurance that all is fine.

To learn more about the prenatal genetic testing we offer, click here.