first scan pregnancy

When Is The First Scan Done During Pregnancy?

Scanning is a vital part of pregnancy that is performed to ensure the sound development of you as well as baby. By performing the scan, your doctor not just tracks the development but also identifies any abnormality that can happen in the initial stage of pregnancy.

Early scan

This scan is performed when the expecting mother is six weeks pregnant. It is the first scan in pregnancy and all the other scans like dating scan and first trimester combined scan happens after it.

This scan is generally advised when you have had bleeding, or miscarriage in your earlier pregnancy. Many hospitals run early pregnancy assessment tests to instantly check the health of you and your baby.

By undergoing this early scan test, your doctor can figure out following things:

  • Check if the baby is in the uterus in the right position. The test also ensures that it is not an ectopic pregnancy
  • The test involves checking the heartbeat of the fetus that in turn checks the practicality of the pregnancy
  • It is done for computation of the due date
  • With this test, your doctor can tell you how many babies will a pregnant lady deliver
  • The test can figure out underlying reasons for abnormalities faced during pregnancy like bleeding, and pain
  • Your sonographer may perform a vaginal scan than the abdominal scan to get a clear picture of the baby at the earlier stages in pregnancy. It is completely safe for you as well as your baby.

Dating scan

In most of the cases, the dating scan is the early scan, or first scan that is performed in the pregnancy. This scan is generally offered when you are about 8 weeks to 14 weeks pregnant.

At the time of performing this scan, your sonographer will apply some gel on the abdomen, and move the transducer on the skin. He will reveal you the image of the unborn on the screen and perform close inspection of the image to find out following things:

  • Measure the length of the baby from his top to the bottom. This length is called as crown rump length. This will provide you the exact date of the pregnancy.
  • It helps you reveal whether you are carrying single baby, or twins, or more.
  • It is one of the best ways to determine the heartbeat of the baby.

NT Scans helps in following ways:

If the measurement of the baby’s length is found to be more than the admissible range, then an NT scan is performed. With this method, it becomes easier to figure out the thickness of NT, Nuchal Translucency. This test is important to be conducted because a higher than permissible length of the baby can be the reason for development of several chromosomal disorders as “Down’s Syndrome”.

Other than this finding, the test also helps in finding below things that include:

  • Ensure the placement of placenta is proper
  • Check the urinary bladder, spine, limbs, and stomach, to find out any possibility of defects
  • Detect any presence of nasal bone
  • Measure the length of the baby

A dating scan is an accurate method to establish the due date than calculating the due date from the LMP or last monthly period. It is one of the ways to find out the development of the baby.

Finding out the accurate pregnancy due date is also helpful to arrive at the date to perform the screening test for “Down’s syndrome”. This is due to the reason that this screening is performed between eleven and fourteen weeks of pregnancy.

First trimester combined screening

If the length of the baby measures to be in the range of 45mm and 84mm, your doctor will recommend you combined screening at the time of the dating scan. This screening enables you to check the development of the baby. It involves following things:
A blood test that determines the level of proteins contained in the blood. The test also identifies any possibilities of Down’s syndrome in your baby.

An NT or nuchal translucency scan. This test estimates the chances of the baby to have Down’s syndrome. This scan is mostly performed through the tummy. It offers clearer view to the doctor.

Also read: List Of Common Tests Performed During Pregnancy

When should you need to re-perform the scanning?

In cases when you are less than eleven weeks pregnant at the time of dating scan, or the length of your baby is below 45mm, then you may need to undergo combined screening again.

An early scan helps in ensuring the sound development of the baby and the mother and detects any risks at the early phase of the pregnancy. The scan results helps in ensuring safe, and healthy pregnancy.