When Can I Get A Scan?


Read through this article to ensure you date your pregnancy correctly !


The timing of your first scan is very important, so having followed the instructions in “Interpreting Pregnancy Test Results” section, you have arrived here.


Image of a pregnancy at 6 weeks.

The timing of the first viability scan is very important, the viability scan will show a heartbeat, that the pregnancy is developing in the correct place, how many babies you are expecting and also confirm your dates and give you an expected date for delivery of your baby or babies !  A significant scan for any expectant parents and one that you want to go smoothly. So arriving to see your Baby Scan Consultant to find that you have come too soon is very disappointing not only because you were looking forward to seeing your baby for the first time but also because of the apprehension about whether everything is going to be okay and that you will hear a heartbeat. This leads to upset and tears, no heartbeat, more anxiety as to whether it really is too soon or that there is no heartbeat because something is wrong and you have had a very early miscarriage.


So remember that when you take your pregnancy test on the first day of your missed period, you will be, according to how your Obstetrician or Baby Scan Consultant will date you, 4 weeks pregnant.  This is ALWAYS assuming you have a regular 28 day cycle and ovulate on day 14.


Mr Penman recommends that as an absolute minimum, you must be 6 weeks pregnant for a heartbeat to be detected. A day either side of this may make a difference between detection of a heart beat and no detection.  Ideally, Mr Penman would suggest a scan around 6weeks 5-6 days, so almost 7 weeks as a preferred time for a scan, if not a little longer, to avoid the upset and disappointment of a scan leaving more questions than it answers.

Scan Image of a 9 week pregnancy.


  1. Hello ,
    I would like to ask you ,I fined out that im pregnet and my pregnency its about 5weeks and 2days. I would like to do the scan to check if its everything fine ,but just read your webside and its says that its have to be at least 6 weeks not less than that ,so sould i wait then?
    I am a bit worry because i got time to time pains ,just wondering is that normal .
    Thank you
    Best regards

    • Hello Gintare, if you have pain, you need to go see a doctor. There is a risk at this stage of ectopic pregnancy and you need to have that ruled out. You can go see Mr Penman and he will scan you to ensure you do not have an ectopic pregnancy and the cause of the pain but he will not be able to identify a heart beat at this stage. The reason for not having a scan until at least 6 weeks is because if you go sooner and don’t hear a heartbeat you will think there is something wrong and be very upset whereas after 6 weeks you will hear the heart beat and be relieved. But as you have pain, you should seek medical advice to ensure you do not have an ectopic pregnancy.

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