Scans in Early Pregnancy

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Fetal Viability Scans

Patients can be seen quickly for necessary ultrasound examinations to confirm a healthy pregnancy. A Fetal Viability Scan is an ultrasound examination, usually carried out at 7 to 10 weeks, to confirm that the pregnancy is developing normally and to provide reassurance regarding possible miscarriage.

Additionally, this scan will confirm or exclude whether twins are present. It is generally advisable to not have an ultrasound examination prior to 7 weeks as frequently the pregnancy sac may be too small to be visible on ultrasound at such an early gestational age. Exceptions to this suggestion would be if pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding develops. In such a situation emergency evaluation at your local hospital’s early pregnancy assessment unit is recommended.

Fetal Viability Scans are performed either by the transabdominal or transvaginal route. For a transabdominal scan early in pregnancy it is important to ensure that the bladder is full prior to the appointment.

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Transvaginal Scan

If adequate views of the pregnancy cannot be obtained, then a transvaginal scan will usually be performed to get a more detailed view of the inside of the uterus. This is a simple procedure, in which a thin ultrasound probe with a sterile cover is gently inserted into the vagina to provide detailed pictures of the inside of the uterus.

Occasionally a Fetal Viability Scan may be inconclusive, especially if the gestational age is less than 6 weeks. It may therefore be necessary to repeat the scan in 5-10 days, or to correlate the ultrasound results with a blood test measuring pregnancy hormone levels

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