Back to Your pregnancy and baby guide. Ultrasound scans use sound waves to build a picture of the baby in the womb. The scans are painless, have no known side effects on mothers or babies, and can be carried out at any stage of pregnancy. Talk to your midwife, GP or obstetrician about any concerns you have. For many women, ultrasound scans are the highlight of pregnancy. It's very exciting to "see" your baby in the womb, often moving their hands and legs.
A dating scan is an ultrasound examination which is performed in order to establish the gestational age of the pregnancy. Most dating scans are done with a trans-abdominal transducer and a fullish bladder. If the pregnancy is very early the gestation sac and fetus will not be big enough to see, so the transvaginal approach will give better pictures. Dating scans are usually recommended if there is doubt about the validity of the last menstrual period. By 6 to 7 weeks gestation the fetus is clearly seen on trans-vaginal ultrasound and the heart beat can be seen at this early stage 90 to beats per minute under 6 to 7 weeks, then to beats per minute as the baby matures. Ultrasounds performed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are generally within 3 - 5 days of accuracy. The most accurate time is between 8 and 11 weeks gestation.
A dating scan is an ultrasound scan to determine how many weeks pregnant you are and your due date. Read on for more information about what a dating scan offers. A dating scan might be recommended to confirm your due date if you are unsure of your last menstrual period or your date of conception. It is usually offered to pregnant women from 10 weeks to 13 weeks gestation, but can be carried out any time from 6 weeks.
Back to Your pregnancy and baby guide. All pregnant women in England are offered an ultrasound scan at around 8 to 14 weeks of pregnancy. This is called the dating scan. It's used to see how far along in your pregnancy you are and check your baby's development. Your midwife or doctor will book you a dating scan appointment.