Podcast: Should you have an early pregnancy scan?

Would you be tempted to pay to have a private early pregnancy scan? We talk to mums who did - and those who decided against it

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Currently, the NHS offers mums-to-be their first scan at around the 12-week mark. You might be offered one earlier in certain circumstances, for example, if you’ve:

  • experienced bleeding
  • had certain types of fertility treatment
  • had recurrent miscarriages
  • previously had an ectopic pregnancy.

But if you’re keen to have one earlier and don’t have any of the above issues, you can pay to do it privately.

When we asked our mums on Facebook, 24% – so nearly a quarter – had opted to go for an early pregnancy scan at a private centre.

Private early scans after miscarriage

A big reason we’ve found lots of mums go for an early scan is if they’ve experienced issues in previous pregnancies – particularly miscarriage – or if they know they have health problems that could affect their pregnancy.

Mum Laura B on Facebook told us: “After a miscarriage [I had an early scan].  Peace of mind, and to take away your worries and stress which is not healthy for you. Always personal choice though.”

Another mum told us she had scans at 7 and 10 weeks as she had PCOS and knew there was a miscarriage risk, so did it to ease her anxiety.

Reasons NOT to have an early scan

Not all mums have gone for the early scan option – Charlie on Facebook brings up the point that they can seriously add up (they can cost anywhere between £45 and £100 depending on where you live).

And some feel that it’s better to wait just because getting past the 12-week mark means you’re past the higher incidence of miscarriage.

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Anne-marie says: “I’m a little nervous about waiting another 25 days for a scan, but I guess the longer I wait without any obvious complications, the better the scan will be.

“I had 2 vaginal scans at 7 weeks in my first pregnancy… got my hopes up by seeing a heartbeat and then had them shattered to be told a few days later there was nothing there anymore. So waiting a bit longer is not a bad thing.”

Early scans – if things go wrong

One important thing we should say is that if you have a private early scan and anything abnormal or worrying is brought to light you will still need to be referred to an NHS hospital to get more information about what’s going on.

So, while you might have gone before the regular 12-week scan in order to get some for reassurance – there is a slight possibility it could bring up issues you weren’t expecting.

With this in mind, it’s always good to make sure you go with someone you know will support you whatever the outcome.

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This article is sponsored by the Government’s Shared Parental Leave campaign – you can find out more on the dedicated website