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 health conditions or chromosomal conditions. However, scans are not 100% accurate and not all conditions can be picked up by a scan.

The early pregnancy scan is 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
  • check your baby’s heartbeat, growth, and development
  • confirm whether you’re having one baby or more
  • give the nuchal translucency measurement

Occasionally a scan will detect a health condition or chromosomal condition. Let your midwife know if you don’t want to know about these conditions.

Nuchal translucency (NT) scan

You might also be offered a nuchal translucency (NT) scan. This can 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.

Learn more about screening for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome

Last updated:
23 January 2023

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