What is the Early Fetal Scan?
The Early Fetal Scan is recently developed early anomaly scan. This is an early reassurance scans to screen for certain anomalies which which have an earlier manifestation. This scan is the equivalent for the Anomaly Scan done at around 20 weeks at the NHS.
This is our signature scan developed by Dr Fred Ushakov – reassurance for you at an earlier stage of the pregnancy. The Early Fetal Scan is an advanced examination of baby’s anatomy from 10 weeks of gestation by meticulous top-to-toe examination of the fetus with special attention to the heart and brain.
While we can screen for certain severe anomalies from as early as 10 weeks, the most comprehensive checklist for this scan is from 12 weeks – the checklist includes examination of the brain, face, neck, chest, heart, the great arteries, lungs, diaphragm, stomach, liver, intestine, abdominal wall, umbilical cord, kidneys, bladder, spine, limbs, hands with fingers and feet. We also check umbilical cord insertion into placenta, umbilical cord vessels and integrity of the amniotic sac.
What is the optimal time for the Early Fetal Scan?
The optimal time for Early Baby Fetal Scan is: from 12+0 to 13+6 weeks. That said, from 10 weeks we can also screen for 10 severe anomalies, as well as perform NIPT (Harmony Test) for 3 chromosomal anomalies including Down’s Syndrome.
- It is possible to perform Early baby Scan from 11 weeks, however the small size of the baby at this early stage can reduce the detection rate. Some structures (like the kidneys) have a poor visibility before 12 weeks.
- It is possible to perform Early Baby Scan at 14 weeks and even later, however at this stage the baby usually has an oblique sitting position in the womb and it can be difficult to scan some structures including the heart.
How do we perform the Early Fetal Scan?
The best results can be achieved by a combination of transabdominal (on the surface of your tummy) and transvaginal scans (TVS). The visualisation of different fetal parts depends on many factors like position of the womb, position of the fetus, maternal abdominal wall thickness and others. The transvaginal scan is optional and in many cases transabdominal scan by our high-resolution transducers can be enough for a thorough check of the baby. In any case, you can opt to avoid a transvaginal scan.
About 10% of women have the position of the uterus tilted backwards (retroflexed). In this situation the resolution of transabdominal scan is very limited and transvaginal scan is much superior. If this is the case we will inform you and you can make your choice to do TVS or not.
We do NOT need full urinary bladder for the scan. Please feel free to empty your bladder before the scan.