What Is A Viability Scan?

What Is A Viability Scan?

Here is everything you need to know about the viability scan.

Pregnancy is a vulnerable time and great care is required to keep things on track. In order to track the progress of pregnancy, several tests are carried out. One such important test is the viability scan.


What is an Early Viability Scan and why is it done?

A viability scan, more commonly known as the early viability scan or the pregnancy viability scan, is an ultrasound examination which is conducted at around 6-10 weeks of pregnancy. The main objective of this scan is to determine the number of embryos which are present in the uterus and whether the pregnancy is normal or not.

The viability scan is also recommended to women  who are experiencing abnormal pain and bleeding or who have previously had miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.
The viability scan is usually a trans-abdominal scan which can also help in confirming the conception and determining a due date as well. This scan can also be useful when checking for twins.

How is the pregnancy viability scan carried out?

The pregnancy viability scan is usually carried out trans-abdominally. This means that it is done externally and over the belly.
However, for women who have a possible risk of ectopic pregnancy or have a history of early miscarriage, a 6-7 week scan may be done trans-vaginally. If the scan is carried out at such an early stage, it is hard to detect the heartbeat.

When the pregnancy viability scan is carried out at 7-11 weeks, the following information can be determined:


  • The number of embryos
  • Presence of a heartbeat
  • The size of the embryo
  • Number of weeks into the pregnancy
  • Presence of any abnormal internal bleeding

Viability ultrasound – what to expect?


  • The scan is performed by a sonographer.
  • If your scan is being carried out trans-abdominally, then you may need to have a full bladder in order to enhance the visibility of the embryo. This will make the ultrasound image clearer. However, if the scan is trans-vaginal, then the bladder may need to be emptied.
  • When the scan is being done, you are likely to be in a dimly lit room. This enables the sonographer to get better images of the baby.
  • If you are new to ultrasounds, you might feel a little weird when the sonographer puts some ultrasound gel onto your belly. However, this gel ensures good contact between the skin and the ultrasound probe and is absolutely safe. When the probe is passed over the skin, black and white images will appear on the screen of the machine.
  • The pregnancy dating scan is painless, although you might feel the sonographer applying a little bit of pressure in order to examine the baby more thoroughly.
  • The duration of this scan is usually 15-20 minutes. Sometimes, it may even take longer. If you are overweight and your skin is too dense, then this may hinder visibility during the scan. In such cases, the scan could be done twice so that the doctor is able to assess the pregnancy as best as possible.

Is an early viability scan important?

This scan is offered to all the pregnant women who are 7-11 weeks into the pregnancy. Although, not compulsory it is extremely important. This scan allows one to be sure that there are no early complications which the baby and hence getting the scan done is highly recommended.


How much does viability scan cost?

The viability scan in India usually costs up to INR 2000. However, in government hospitals the scan test can be done for free or at a nominal fee.


Also read: The Nuchal Translucency Scan



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