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Early Obstetrical Ultrasound

The early obstetrical ultrasound usually occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy (under 14 weeks) and will search the uterus for an embryo, which is usually visible with a heartbeat at six weeks gestation. Imaging for this exam is best performed at or after seven weeks.

The early obstetrical ultrasound may be ordered to date your pregnancy or to confirm the embryo’s size. It may also be requested when you are having vaginal bleeding or pain in the pelvic area, and to evaluate the ovaries.

For more information about this and other obstetrical ultrasound exams, please read the article What's the Purpose of Obstetrical Ultrasounds?

We can give you the baby images from your obstetrical ultrasound exams on a complimentary USB, to share with family and friends. Please speak with one of our clinic receptionists for more details.


  • Take all prescribed medications as directed.
  • You can expect to be at the clinic between 30-60 minutes, depending on your procedure(s) and barring any unforeseen delays.
  • Please empty your bladder 90 minutes prior to your appointment, and then drink one litre of water within the next 30 minutes. Finish drinking water one hour before your exam and do not empty your bladder.
  • Please note: Drink water slowly to prevent abdominal discomfort.
  • If you are too uncomfortable, please relieve your bladder of a small amount of urine.
  • Once the test has begun, your sonographer will advise you if you can empty your bladder further or totally. We understand that a full bladder can be uncomfortable.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to allow enough time to check in with reception.
  • Bring photo identification and your provincial health card.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.


  • You will be asked to change into a gown.
  • A warm, non-scented, hypo-allergenic, water-based ultrasound gel will be applied to your stomach.
  • The sonographer will scan your uterus to find and take pictures of your baby.
  • Your sonographer may have to apply some pressure to accurately measure your baby’s head, abdomen, and leg bone.
  • The length of your exam depends on how much your baby moves and its position.
  • Please advise the sonographer if you are having trouble holding your bladder at any time during the ultrasound.
  • If you need to move into a more comfortable position, please let the sonographer know.
  • Your sonographer may be concentrating on obtaining all of the necessary images, so they may show you images of your baby at the end of the exam.
  • You may bring your partner, family member, or friend into the ultrasound room during the exam or at the end, whichever is your preference. Please ensure that young children are supervised during the exam; we can bring them in at the conclusion of your ultrasound.


We do our best to have our radiologists interpret the information and forward the results to your doctor by the next business day.


This exam is covered under your Alberta Health Care Plan. It is not currently offered at our Saskatchewan clinic.


Please ensure that you bring your requisition with you to your appointment.


30 minutes