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The International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG) recommends that pregnant women have routine obstetric ultrasounds between 18 weeks and 22 weeks gestational age in order to confirm pregnancy timing, to measure the fetus so that growth abnormalities can be recognized quickly later in pregnancy, and to assess for congenital malformations and multiple gestations (i.e. Additionally, the ISUOG recommends that pregnant women have obstetric ultrasounds between 11 weeks and 13 weeks 6 days gestational age in countries with resources to perform them.Performing an ultrasound at this early stage of pregnancy can more accurately confirm the timing of the pregnancy and can also assess for multiple fetuses and major congenital abnormalities at an earlier stage.Movements such as fetal heart beat and malformations in the feus can be assessed and measurements can be made accurately on the images displayed on the screen.Such measurements form the cornerstone in the assessment of gestational age, size and growth in the fetus.You may have calculated the length of your pregnancy from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP).This is even though you don't actually conceive until 14 days after your LMP, or later than this if your cycle is longer than 28 days.If you have an irregular cycle, or if you've recently been taking the contraceptive pill, working out the date from your LMP isn't a very accurate method.Ultrasounds are more accurate than using the LMP and, if the ultrasound date differs from your period dates, the ultrasound date will be used.

Very high frequency sound waves of between 3.5 to 7.0 megahertz (i.e.

Having an ultrasound in the first trimester of pregnancy can be a thrilling experience. Bear in mind that you may need a second ultrasound before you know for certain if all is well.

It's wonderful to see a little blob with a heartbeat that will become your baby. If you are unsure of the first day of your last period you will be offered a dating ultrasound when you are between 10 and 14 weeks pregnant.

Not all units offer an early scan if all is going well in this pregnancy, though.

Ask your GP if you want the reassurance of an early scan. The scan's main purpose is to work out accurately how many weeks pregnant you are and estimate your due date.

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