Early pregnancy scan (booking or dating scan)

The early pregnancy scan is used to check your baby’s development. It’s sometimes called your dating scan as it helps to show how many weeks pregnant you are.

It's also used to pick up any health issues early. Scans are not 100% accurate and not all issues can be picked up by a scan.

It's offered between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy.

What the scan can show

The purpose of the early pregnancy scan is to:

  • estimate the stage of pregnancy
  • assess growth and development
  • check your baby’s heartbeat

Occasionally they can see a health issue. Let your midwife know if you don't want to know about these.

Nuchal translucency (NT) scan

If booked early enough, a nuchal translucency (NT) scan can also be performed at the same time as your early scan.

This scan:

  • helps to assess the chance of your baby having Down’s syndrome
  • is offered between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy
  • is part of the screening test for Down’s syndrome

If you'd like an early pregnancy scan, but don't want to know your baby’s chance of having Down’s syndrome or other conditions, please discuss this with your midwife.

More about screening for Down's syndrome

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