When to expect your first NHS pregnancy scan

By Maria Birch

November 19, 2019

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Your first NHS pregnancy scan should be scheduled for between 10 and 14 weeks gestation.

This is the optimum time for the Sonographer to “date” your pregnancy. Or, in other words, to find out how far along you are, and estimate your due date.

It’s also when the combined screening test for Down’s, Edward’s and Patau’s syndromes needs to be performed, if decide to have it.

The reason there’s a 4-week time window for the scan – 10 to 14 weeks – is that it provides NHS services with some flexibility.

Sometimes waiting lists are relatively small and they can see you closer to 10 weeks. Sometimes the service is under pressure and they can’t see you until 14 weeks.

In most cases, from a medical perspective, there’s little difference between an NHS pregnancy scan at 10 weeks and a scan at 14 weeks.

However, if you suffer from pain or bleeding in early pregnancy – or you are concerned for any other reason – either contact your GP, midwife or go to A&E (depending on the severity – call 111 if you’re unsure).

Depending on your situation, you may or may not be referred for an earlier NHS pregnancy scan to check your baby’s health before the more detailed “dating scan” at 10 to 14 weeks.

Equally, it can feel like a really long time to wait for your first scan – to get confirmation that your pregnancy is viable and progressing well. Therefore, you may benefit from a private early pregnancy scan.

That’s what I did when I was pregnant with my daughter Mabel – and I’ve since helped ease the minds of hundreds of other parent’s in early pregnancy – the most satisfying part of my job 🙂

To a happy and healthy pregnancy,

Maria Birch.