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Dating scan accuracy

Like every other health professional, individual skill, expertise and training make a big difference to the outcome of their assessments.When you are first referred for a seven week ultrasound, the first of many types of ultrasound, ask your GP or maternity care provider who has the best reputation for quality scan results.It is also impossible to do a thorough foetal screening assessment because it is still just too premature in terms of embryonic development.However, general “mass” structures such as a head and body can generally be seen in the embryo at seven weeks.In some respects the seven week ultrasound can be quite accurate because the embryo is developing very quickly.They are also not as mobile and active as they will be with future development.Crown/rump length and gestational age are closely compared with each other until around the end of the first trimester.The ideal time for a sonographer to assess the gestational age in the first trimester is between 7-10 weeks of pregnancy.

With maturity, the size of the baby correlates less to its age than in the early weeks.This is the period of time which provides the most accurate assessment.Generally, ultrasounds which are performed in the first trimester are within 3-5 days of being accurate in terms of assessing gestational age.Ultrasound is sound waves with frequencies higher than the upper audible limit of human hearing.Ultrasound is no different from 'normal' (audible) sound in its physical properties, except in that humans cannot hear it.When a transvaginal ultrasound is done at seven weeks gestation, the transducer is placed in the mother’s vagina and the sound waves are transmitted via her cervix and directly into the uterus.With this form of scan it is not as necessary for the mother to have a full bladder.The limbs and the yolk sac, though obviously important, are not the primary means of measuring growth.An average length of the embryo at 7 weeks is anywhere between 5mm-12mm. Obviously, every pregnancy is unique and individual factors influence the size of the embryo at this early stage, and the embryo shows development week by week.A duration of only a week can make a significant difference in terms of what can and can’t be seen.At seven weeks of gestation it is still too early to identify what gender (sex) the baby will be.


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