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This is an ultrasound examination that is usually carried out between 7-10 weeks. This scan helps to determine the number of foetuses present and whether the pregnancy is progressing normally inside the uterus. This scan is useful for women who are experiencing pain or bleeding in the pregnancy and those who have had previous miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.

How is the viability scan performed?

The scan is usually performed through your abdomen but sometimes a transvaginal scan is required.

Who should have a viability scan?

  • Those with previous first trimester miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
  • If you are experiencing bleeding or spotting or pain during early pregnancy.
  • If you had IVF treatment and you would like to have a reassurance scan that the embryo is developing normally.

What is the next step after the viability scan?

We offer non-invasive prenatal testing in the form of a simple and safe Harmony blood test which can be done from 10 weeks of pregnancy. The Harmony test checks for the three common conditions (Down syndrome, Edward’s syndrome, Patau syndrome) during pregnancy as well as the gender of the baby.

The next ultrasound scan that is recommended for all pregnancies is the nuchal translucency scan which is performed at 12 weeks.

What if I were to receive unexpected news?

Unfortunately, in some cases the viability scan may show that:

  • The embryo is inside the fallopian tube (ectopic pregnancy)
  • The embryo is seen but there is no heartbeat
  • The sac is seen but there is no visible embryo. In this case we will recommend that you have a further ultrasound scan in 7-14 days to determine if the pregnancy is viable.

In any of these cases, you will be offered counselling during the appointment.