If you are hoping to start a family, a positive pregnancy result is usually a source of great joy and the beginning of a wonderful journey. However, the early pregnancy stage, particularly if you’ve suffered from fertility problems or experienced miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies in the past, can also be a source of anxiety.

Concerns over whether the pregnancy is progressing normally or questions about how far along you are or how many babies you’re carrying can all be answered with a Viability Scan, an ultrasound examination that we can carry out very early on in pregnancy.

Performed at between six and ten weeks of pregnancy, the Viability Scan can be useful for women who may be experiencing pain or bleeding or to provide reassurance for women who may have experienced previous miscarriages. We will also check that the pregnancy sac is located within the uterus, ruling out ectopic pregnancy. A Viability Scan can also help with dating if you’re unsure of your last menstrual period, helping you to plan your pregnancy care and future scans and checks.

At SureScan, we usually perform a Viability Scan through the abdomen, but if the womb is tilted backwards or it is very early on, then we may need to perform an internal or trans-vaginal scan. This will not harm the baby, but we will discuss this in full with you beforehand.

From six weeks, you should be able to see the embryo and detect the foetal heartbeat, but if the scan is performed too early then you may require a repeat scan one to two weeks later to confirm all is well. If a heartbeat is detected, then the risk of miscarriage is reduced to approximately 10% at this stage.

At seven weeks, we can measure the Crown Rump Length (CRL), which allows us to work out how far along you are in your pregnancy and provide you with an expected date of delivery (EDD). Presence of the foetal heartbeat means the risk of miscarriage at this stage is reduced to approximately 5%.

At eight weeks, this risk reduces to approximately 2% if a heartbeat is detected and, even at this stage, you may see the baby make small movements. Between nine and ten weeks, the foetus is recognisable as a developing baby and risk of miscarriage reduces to 1%.

We determine pregnancy in weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period not the date of conception, but if you have an irregular cycle or are unsure of the date, please contact us for advice on when to book your Viability Scan.

At SureScan, we are highly experienced in these early pregnancy scans and can offer the best possible advice, care and support.