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 conditions or chromosomal conditions. Scans are not 100% accurate and not all conditions 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 condition or chromosomal conditions. Let your midwife know if you don't want to know about this.

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 find out how likely it is that your baby may have either Down’s syndrome, Patau’s syndrome or Edwards’ syndrome
  • is offered between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy

If you'd like an early pregnancy scan, but don't want to know if your baby may have either Down’s syndrome, Edwards' syndrome or Patau’s syndrome, please discuss this with your midwife.

More about screening for Down's syndrome

More about screening for Edwards syndrome

More about screening for Patau's syndrome