How is a dating scan performed?

The yolk sac lies within the gestation sac and looks like a little round circle inside the pregnancy sac.


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  • Ultrasound: Sonogram.

Seeing a yolk sac helps the doctor confirm the presence of a developing pregnancy within the uterus, even before the embryo is seen. This is useful if there are concerns that your pregnancy may not be correctly located in the uterus an ectopic pregnancy.

At weeks gestation, your baby is growing bigger and now measures mm long. From now until the end of the first trimester, the embryo will be measured from one end to the other, called the crown-rump-length or CRL. At weeks gestation, your baby continues to change appearance as it grows and develops. By 8 weeks gestation, your baby can usually be seen with transabdominal ultrasound. By weeks gestation, the embryo is clearly recognisable as a baby with a body, head, arms and legs, as well as many other identifiable features.

Your pregnancy and baby guide

Your baby may be moving around the pregnancy sac. Many parents are amazed at the detail that can be seen even at this early stage of the pregnancy. First trimester ultrasound is performed in the first months of a pregnancy. Pregnancy ultrasounds are performed mainly using transabdominal ultrasound. Not all women need to have an ultrasound in this early part of the pregnancy. Your doctor may request this ultrasound for a number of reasons, including: You may have gone to your doctor with vaginal bleeding or you may be anxious because of problems in a previous pregnancy such as miscarriage.

This ultrasound can routinely detect a heartbeat in your baby as early as weeks. Confirming the correct dates of your pregnancy. Some women are uncertain of their last menstrual period LMP or have irregular menstrual cycles, making it difficult for their doctor to correctly estimate when the baby is due.

Establishing accurate dates can be important, especially if there are concerns about your baby later in the pregnancy for example, if the baby is not growing well.


  • First Trimester / Dating Ultrasound.
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An ultrasound in the first trimester can give an accurate estimated date of confinement EDC to within days. Confirming the location of your pregnancy. Your doctor may have concerns that your pregnancy is located in the fallopian tube ectopic pregnancy. This ultrasound will check if your pregnancy is developing normally within the uterus. Determining the number of babies present. Your doctor may be concerned about you having more than one baby for example, twins or triplets if your pregnancy was conceived with the help of clomiphene or IVF, you have a family history of twins, you have severe morning sickness or your uterus seems larger than expected.

This ultrasound can determine the number of babies, as well as the type of twins. Identifying pregnancies at increased risk of miscarriage or pregnancy loss. Checking other pelvic organs. Your doctor may want an ultrasound to check other things in your pelvis apart from your pregnancy, such as the uterus for example, if you have a history of fibroids and the ovaries for example, if you have pelvic pain and there is concern about an ovarian cyst. Your doctor may be concerned about your pregnancy because of abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding.

This early ultrasound can provide reassurance that everything is progressing normally. It may also detect a serious problem with either you or your pregnancy, some of which require further investigations or treatment. Your doctor will discuss the reasons for such follow-up, if this is necessary. Assess the size of your baby. The baby is measured from one end to the other crown-rump-length, or CRL. Assess the location of the pregnancy.

The pregnancy normally develops in the uterus, within the endometrium the lining of the uterus. Sometimes a pregnancy may not be developing in the correct place an ectopic pregnancy.


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The most common location for an ectopic pregnancy is the fallopian tube. Assess the gestation sac. The baby is growing inside a small sac, called the gestation sac.

How is an ultrasound performed?

The size and appearance of this sac will be assessed. Assess the number of babies. We will confirm the presence of a heartbeat in your baby and measure the heart rate. The heart rate of babies is much quicker than adults. Assess the uterus and ovaries.

We will review the uterus for such conditions as fibroids, and the ovaries for such conditions as ovarian cysts. 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.

First Trimester / Dating Ultrasound | Advanced Women's Imaging

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. 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.

What is the purpose of the dating scan?

General health Pregnancy and parenting Aged care Caring for someone. Dating scans are used to confirm how many weeks pregnant you are and your expected due date. Why would I have a dating scan? How is a dating scan performed? What preparation do I need to do for a dating scan?