For many women, especially after 10 weeks, sufficient information can be obtained with abdominal scanning only. In very early pregnancy prior to this it may be necessary to perform the scan vaginally to provide us with better imagery of the baby. Vaginal scans require an empty bladder whilst abdominal scans require a full bladder.
What will I see on the early reassurance scan?
Before 5 weeks gestation, the developing pregnancy is too small to detect on ultrasound.
At 5-6 weeks gestation, a small pregnancy sac is seen within the uterus. At this stage a transvaginal ultrasound is usually necessary to visualise the baby as it is just a tiny embryo. The yolk sac is the other structure that is usually identified at this early stage. Seeing a yolk sac helps the sonographer confirm the presence of a developing pregnancy within the uterus, even before the embryo is seen. if there are concerns that your pregnancy not being correctly located in the uterus (an ectopic pregnancy) this type of scan can be very useful.
At 6-7 weeks gestation, your baby is growing bigger and now and often a heartbeat can be visualised. We are now able to measure the baby from head to bottom, which helps us to estimate the age of the baby and estimated date of delivery.
At 8-11 weeks gestation, your baby continues to change appearance as it grows and develops. By 10 weeks gestation, your baby can usually be seen with transabdominal ultrasound.
By 10-11 weeks gestation, the embryo has made remarkable changed and now clearly looks like a baby. Limbs and movement can be seen clearly at this stage.