A dating scan is carried out by ultrasound. A sonographer, who is usually a radiographer or a midwife trained in ultrasound, will complete your scan. If the scan is after 10 weeks, ultrasound recordings are usually made through your abdomen. The sonographer will put gel on your abdomen and move a hand-held device called a transducer, back and forward over your skin. In some situations, such as when the scan is completed before 10 weeks of gestation or you are overweight, you may also need a vaginal scan.
Early ultrasound - 4-5 weeks
Your sonographer will let you know if this is needed. For an abdominal dating ultrasound, you will need to have a full bladder. You may be asked to drink some water and not go to the toilet beforehand because a full bladder helps to push your womb up to give a better picture. For a vaginal scan, you can have an empty bladder. This will provide a fairly accurate estimate of how many weeks pregnant you are. But it is important to remember that only a few women go into labour on their due date, so it can be more helpful to think about the month in which you are expecting your baby, rather than the exact day.
Information on pregnancy ultrasound scans including when they are taken, what it can be used for, dating scans, anomaly scans, plus links to trusted resources. This Dads Guide to Pregnancy article covers early pregnancy scans and screening, plus normal fetal development and early miscarriage for men, by men. In the second trimester of pregnancy, you may be offered to have an morphology scan anomaly scan.
Learn about what it looks for and when it is performed. A nuchal translucency scan is part of the ultrasound scan that may give an indication of chromosomal abnormality. Learn more about how and when it is performed. During your pregnancy, you will be offered a number of tests and scans. The aim is always to check on the health of you and your baby, but it can sometimes be overwhelming and confusing.
How is a dating scan performed?
Handy infographic that shows what you can expect at each antenatal appointment during your pregnancy. In the meantime, we will continue to update and add content to Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to meet your information needs.
This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes. The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional. Access trusted, quality health information and advice Visit healthdirect. Access quality information from pregnancy planning through to early parenthood Visit Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.
Access information to help you navigate the aged care system Visit My Aged Care. A great place to start for support and services Visit Carer Gateway. The dark area is the fluid filling the gestational sac. Eventually, this fluid will be replaced by a sac containing the amniotic fluid your baby-to-be will live in for the next few months. The white circle within the fluid is called the yolk sac.
Before the placenta is fully formed, the yolk sac plays a role in providing all the nutrients your baby-to-be needs to grow. The sonographer measures the length of the embryo the crown-rump length or CRL to confirm or revise the due date estimated from your LMP, or to evaluate the embryo's growth. Baby-to-be takes on a tucked, C-shape. Head, legs, and umbilical cord are forming.
Blood is pumping through the heart. In this 3D image of the developing embryo, you can see a big change since previous week of the first trimester. The baby-to-be curves inward, with the umbilical cord in the middle.
The head appears at the upper right side of the image. Small buds can be seen where the arms and legs will eventually develop. Here, the sonographer demonstrates the developing baby's heartbeat.
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The top part of the image shows placement of a measuring tool on the ultrasound machine called an M-mode through the image of the beating heart. This tool shows movement over time, which is displayed on the bottom part of the image. The image on the bottom shows how the baby's heart rate is calculated.
Head growing larger, and structures that will form the brain can be identified. Nostrils and lenses of the eyes develop. During this week of the first trimester, you can see baby-to-be is developing in a bubble within the gestational sac.
First Trimester Fetal Development: Images of Your Growing Baby
The bubble around the embryo is the amniotic cavity filled with amniotic fluid. This liquid environment gives your baby room to grow and develop and to move. The amniotic fluid also cushions your baby-to-be from any external pressure on the abdomen. The black area inside the head is part of the developing neural tube. Baby's hands and feet are developing. Fingers are beginning to form, but are still fused together. Elbows and ears taking shape.
Baby-to-be's body, arms and legs are getting longer. Small, jerky movements seen on sonogram. In this image, the embryo is lying on her back with her head to the right of the screen. In this now familiar c-shape, you can see that the baby-to-be's head is becoming larger during this part of the first trimester to accommodate her growing brain. Her brain is divided into three main parts: As in the previous week, the hindbrain may be seen as a dark area in the back of the embryo's head. Chances are you have no idea you're pregnant yet—but your body is already hard at work.
Watch as the egg undergoes its wondrous transformation to embryo. Facial features like eyelids and ears continue to develop.
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The embryo appears at the bottom of the image with his head on the left. The arms and legs aren't seen from this angle, but the umbilical cord can be seen extending from the baby's abdomen on its way to the placenta. The sonographer has marked the embryo's crown-rump length CRL , which will help to confirm or revise the due date estimated from the LMP.
Amniotic fluid the dark area surrounds the developing baby.
Baby's forehead is large, and the chin is underdeveloped. Baby's toes are fused together. This image gives you a sneak peek at the interaction between the mother and baby during the first trimester.
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The embryo is lying on its back with his head on the right side. His heart is the blue area. The umbilical cord stretches from the developing baby's abdomen to the placenta, and the red and blue colors within the cord represent blood going to and from the placenta, where it picks up oxygen and nutrients. Eyelids are developing, and Baby's ears are fully formed but not yet in position.
The neck is forming. Fingers and toes are becoming more defined. You'll notice in this image that your baby-to-be is looking more and more like a newborn. Her arms and legs are visible, and a recognizable profile can be seen. The bright white areas in the profile are facial bones. Rudimentary forms of all the organs are present, and cartilage is beginning to ossify and turn into bone.
At the end of this week, your embryo becomes a fetus. This 3-D image of your developing baby shows how lifelike she appears at this early age. Notice that baby-to-be is tucked into a c-shape, with her head toward her stomach and her arms and legs jutting outward. The umbilical cord is seen going from the baby's abdomen to the placenta. Chin and neck are developing.