FIRST TRIMESTER (up to 13 weeks)
In in the very early stages of pregnancy there are massive changes to your body, hormones and circulation. Many women will experience breast tenderness, extreme tiredness, nausea and vomiting and running to the bathroom more frequently to empty their bladder. Modern pregnancy test are positive from about 5 weeks after the last period (3 weeks after conception) and are usually very reliable. They work by measuring the levels of pregnancy hormone (hCG) in the urine which has been produced by the afterbirth (placenta). They do not however show if the pregnancy is in the right place within the uterus or outside it in the tubes or pelvis (ectopic pregnancy) and they do not show if it is viable.
An Early Pregnancy Scan from 6 weeks can show that the pregnancy is in the right place and is not an ectopic pregnancy and measurement of the pregnancy sac will give some idea of the dates and estimated due date (EDD). This scan may be possible by scanning through the abdomen (transabdominal scan) but sometimes it may be necessary to perform a transvaginal scan. Click here to read about the Early Pregnancy Scan.
After 7 weeks it should be possible to see a heartbeat to confirm viability, as well as identifying multiple pregnancies and also dating the pregnancy though dating is more accurate around 10-12 weeks. Many babies with abnormalities like spinabifida can now be identified in the first trimester rather than waiting until the 20 week Anomaly Scan. Click here to read about early Spinabifida Screening.
In the first trimester most NHS hospitals only offer a single Early Pregnancy Scan at 11 to 13 weeks leaving a long interval from the first signs of pregnancy until the viability of the pregnancy has been confirmed and an ectopic pregnancy has been excluded.
We therefore offer Early Pregnancy Scans from 6 to13 weeks and an Early Pregnancy Support Package with weekly scans from 7 to 13 weeks to confirm that the pregnancy is intrauterine and not ectopic and the baby is developing normally with a heartbeat present.
We also offer emergency scans for pregnant women with pain or bleeding who are concerned about ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
Click here to find out how we can reassure you and your partner in early pregnancy that the pregnancy is progressing normally.