What is an early pregnancy ultrasound scan?
Early pregnancy ultrasound scan in a nutshell
The so-called early ultrasound scan is a painless abdominal ultrasound examination performed during early pregnancy. The aim of an early pregnancy ultrasound examination is to ensure a normal start of pregnancy and on the other hand to rule out or detect an abnormal start of pregnancy such as miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or extrauterine pregnancy.
An early ultrasound ensures that the pregnancy is in the right place inside the uterus and that the fetus is growing and developing normally in relation to the weeks of pregnancy. During the examination, the duration of the pregnancy can also be estimated by measuring the crown to rump, or from the top of a baby’s head to the bottom of her bottom, confirming the due date and the number of fetuses.
We recommend booking an appointment for an early ultrasound scan from pregnancy week WG7+0 onwards. If there is strong worry or fear associated with pregnancy, you can book an appointment at any stage of pregnancy. The same applies to situations where the expectant has any symptoms such as bleeding or lower abdominal pain. In these cases the issues that are possible to investigate at that stage are investigated and the necessary follow-up is planned.
If the pregnancy has progressed normally, you will be able to see the fetal heartbeat for the first time during the early ultrasound examination. In situations where the duration of the pregnancy is shorter than expected or the pregnancy has not progressed quite as expected, a repeat examination may be needed after 1-2 weeks.
At Preggo, you can book an early ultrasound scan with an experienced specialist in gynecology and obstetrics (gynecologist). This way, after the ultrasound, you can be sure that all your medical specialities have been taken into account regarding your pregnancy.
Read more in detail about early ultrasound scans below, check out our price list or book an appointment for an early ultrasound scan at Preggo!
What is examined during the early ultrasound scan?
- Is it an intrauterine pregnancy?
- How far along is the pregnancy?
- What is the due date of the pregnancy?
- Is the heartbeat visible?
- How many fetuses are there?
At the gynecologist’s office, the early ultrasound examines, in addition to the above, also:
• Ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, extrauterine pregnancy or even rarer abnormal pregnancies such as molar pregnancy are excluded
• Causes of lower abdominal pain during early pregnancy
• Causes of bloody discharge
• Ovaries and fallopian tube region
• A clinical examination by a gynecologist in addition to an ultrasound examination
When is it time for the first pregnancy ultrasound scan?
When you get a positive pregnancy test, it is known that the placental hormone (HCG) is present in your body. With an ultrasound examination, the beginning of pregnancy inside the uterus can often be confirmed as early as the fifth week of pregnancy (WG5+) by detecting the gestational sac and the amniotic sac in the uterine cavity. At that time, neither the embryo nor the heartbeat can be seen. In a normal pregnancy, the fetal heartbeat is usually visible in the sixth week of pregnancy (WG6+). Since the estimates of the duration of pregnancy are often slightly off, it is advisable to book an early ultrasound scan at seven weeks of pregnancy (WG7+) at the earliest. By doing this, the pregnancy has already reached a little further and you may avoid unnecessary worry and re-examinations due to a premature examination.
If there is strong worry or fear associated with pregnancy, you can book an appointment at any stage of pregnancy. The same applies to situations where the expectant has some symptom such as bleeding or lower abdominal pain. In these cases the issues that are possible to investigate at that stage are investigated and the necessary follow-up is planned.
An early ultrasound scan is not provided by the public healthcare system, but the first “free” public ultrasound examination is offered in the public sector around the 12th week of pregnancy. Because of this, it is often necessary to rely on a private clinic for early ultrasound scans.
According to the law, municipalities are obliged to offer pregnant women the following fetal screenings:
– General ultrasound examination of early pregnancy during pregnancy week 10+0–13+6
– Screening for chromosomal abnormalities primarily through early pregnancy combined screening (blood sample at 9+0−11+6 weeks of pregnancy and measurement of neck swelling in connection with a general ultrasound examination at 11+0–13+6 weeks of pregnancy) or alternatively through second trimester (mid-pregnancy) cervical screening at 15+0−16+6 weeks of pregnancy
– Ultrasound examination to find out severe structural abnormalities during pregnancy week 18+0−21+6 or after pregnancy week 24+0.
At Preggo, we do not perform systematic screening ultrasound scans of fetal structures. The high quality of screening examinations requires hundreds of annual examinations in each of the general screening ultrasound examinations per screener. For this reason, it is safe to centralize structural screening studies to units specialized in screening, e.g. in the public healthcare sector. In other respects, monitoring the growth and development of the fetus and the progress of your pregnancy is possible via Preggo. If we notice an abnormality in the growth or development of the fetus, we refer the expectant mother to the necessary follow-up examinations.
What happens during an early ultrasound scan?
Firstly, preliminary information about the pregnancy that has started, as well as possible previous pregnancies, as well as things on the mind of the expectant, are reviewed during the appointment. After the initial conversation, the expectant moves to the examination table. During a gynecologist’s appointment, the overall situation of the expectant and the pregnancy is evaluated medically, and if necessary, medication issues are reviewed and solved.
An early ultrasound examination is usually performed via the vagina. This allows the examiner to get as close as possible to the uterus and other gynecological organs and this usually gives a very good view of the uterine cavity. During the examination, the doctor tells and shows her observations to the expectant and his/her possible relatives, who can be present during the examination. The ultrasound image is monitored live on a separate monitor for the expectant and companion. During the exaimation, the issues included in the research are systematically evaluated. After this, we plan what needs to be done in the future.
You can bring your spouse or other loved ones to the early ultrasound scan. We do, however, recommend you to not bring toddlers with you, as they rarely have the needed amount of patience for a calm and unhurried exaimation. You can get printed ultrasound photos as a souvenir of your early ultrasound scan, which can be nice to share with your closest friends. Note: Please remember to cover your personal ID from the photos when you share them on e.g. social media!
How and where is an early ultrasound scan performed?
An early ultrasound scan is performed in a specially equipped examination room with an examination bed, an ultrasound machine and an additional monitor for the patient/client and guests. The ultrasound room is often a little dark, so that the ultrasound image can be seen better. The examination is performed with an ultrasound probe, usually through the vagina.
Our clinic is located in the center of Helsinki, and you can easily get there by public transport or by car from Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and further afield. You can find us conveniently using the navigator (Preggo raskausklinikka / Kalevankatu 54) or by public transport. The nearest tram stop is located less than 200 meters from our clinic, which is located at Kalevankatu 54B 11: the entrance is located on the corner of Kalevankatu and Köydenpunojankatu.
Are early ultrasound scans safe?
Early ultrasound scans are safe. Adhering to the principle of caution, a sufficient amount of time is used for ultrasound scanning to clarify the situation, but not for too long or too often. During an early ultrasound scan, the heartbeat of the fetus is not heard, but it can be seen. Our staff takes safety issues into account.
Our own gynecology and obstetrics specialist (gynecologist), who has years of experience in ultrasound examinations of women, is responsible for Preggo’s quality and patient safety. If something abnormal is detected during our gynecologist’s ultrasound scan , follow-up treatment can be arranged medically immediately during the same visit or by arranging a follow-up visit, or by making a referral to the public sector to a specialist hospital for follow-up treatment. This ensures that you the patient are never left without a follow-up plan in an abnormal pregnancy or in an unclear situation.
How do I prepare for an early ultrasound scan?
Before the early ultrasound, the bladder should be emptied. It improves visibility in this ultrasound examination.
Price of early ultrasound scan?
Click the Price list -button below to view our price list of ultrasound examinations and gynecologist’s appointments.
Book a early pregnancy ultrasound scan
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