When to get a dating ultrasound

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  1. When is a dating scan necessary?
  2. First Trimester / Dating Ultrasound | Advanced Women's Imaging
  3. Popular in My Developing Baby
  4. We value your feedback

However, in the early pregnancy, the developing embryo is very small at 6 weeks gestation, the baby is only mm long and a transvaginal ultrasound may be required to get a better image of the baby. Transvaginal ultrasound is safe and commonly performed during all stages of pregnancy, including the first trimester.

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It will not harm you or your baby. Transabdominal ultrasound involves scanning through your lower abdomen. A small amount of ultrasound gel is put on the skin of the lower abdomen, with the ultrasound probe then scanning through this gel. The gel helps improve contact between the probe and your skin. Transvaginal ultrasound is an internal ultrasound. It involves scanning with the ultrasound probe lying in the vagina.

Transvaginal ultrasound usually produces better and clearer images of the female pelvic organs including the developing pregnancy, because the ultrasound probe lies closer to these structures. The transvaginal ultrasound probe is thin, about 2cm diameter. The probe is covered with a disposable protective sheath. A small amount of ultrasound gel is placed on the end of this probe. The probe is then gently inserted a short distance into the vagina.

All transvaginal probes have been cleaned and sterilised according to recommended protocols. Performing the transvaginal ultrasound usually causes less discomfort than a pap smear. No analgesia is required for this ultrasound. Your privacy will always be respected during your ultrasound, especially the transvaginal examination. You will have a large towel covering your lower body, in addition to wearing a gown during the transvaginal ultrasound.

When is a dating scan necessary?

You will always have a choice about whether transvaginal ultrasound is performed. If you have concerns about transvaginal ultrasound, please discuss this with your sonographer before your ultrasound begins. We usually get better images during transabdominal ultrasound if the bladder is partially filled, so to help your examination we ask you to drink water prior to the assessment. Please empty your bladder 1 hour before your appointment, drink 2 glasses of water and try not to empty your bladder again until after your appointment.

A full bladder moves bowel out from the pelvis into the abdomen, helping visualisation of the pregnancy, uterus and ovaries. Your bladder should not be so full that it causes pain. If your bladder is very full and painful, you should empty a small amount so you are more comfortable.

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First Trimester / Dating Ultrasound | Advanced Women's Imaging

You will be able to empty your bladder after the transabdominal ultrasound is completed and before the transvaginal ultrasound begins if transvaginal ultrasound is required. Sometimes the results of a first trimester scan may be inconclusive or uncertain, and need to be combined with your clinical history and blood tests serum BhCG. Some women need to return for another ultrasound scan a few weeks later to assess the progress of the pregnancy, or they may require another blood test serial serum BhCG.


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We realise this is often an anxious time for parents, while they wait for the next ultrasound to check on their baby. We will do our best to answer your questions and minimise your anxiety. A first trimester ultrasound will usually include each of the following components however some ultrasounds may focus more on particular areas.

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. It will usually take place at your local hospital ultrasound department. The person performing the scan is called a sonographer. You may need to have a full bladder for this scan, as this makes the ultrasound image clearer. You can ask your midwife or doctor before the scan if this is the case.

Find out more about what happens during a pregnancy ultrasound scan. Some abnormalities may also be detected at this scan, such as neural tube defects spina bifida is a type of neural tube defect.


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  • Screening for Down's syndrome will happen at the dating scan if:. The screening test for Down's syndrome used at this stage of pregnancy is called the "combined test".

    Popular in My Developing Baby

    You may also have an earlier ultrasound -- or more than one -- if yours is a high-risk pregnancy, if you have any pain or bleeding, if you have a history of having children with birth defects, or if another prenatal test or exam shows something abnormal. In addition, you'll have additional ultrasounds if you have a chronic illness such as diabetes or a history of ovarian cysts or fibroids. An ultrasound usually can be done in your practitioner's office or your local hospital.

    You will be asked to lie on your back while a technician rubs a warm gel on your belly. The gel allows the transducer a handheld device that looks like a microphone to slide more easily over your belly and improves the transmission of sound waves into your body. The sound waves bounce off various surfaces within your body -- including your baby -- as vibrations.

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    The echoes are translated into electrical signals that are projected as pictures onto a monitor for viewing. An abdominal ultrasound poses no risk to you or your baby. In fact, there are many benefits to checking on your baby's development during pregnancy.