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Grande Prairie

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Dating Scan

Early Obstetrical Ultrasound

An early obstetrical ultrasound is performed during the first trimester of pregnancy, or within the first 14 weeks of gestation.

The sonographer will assess the uterus for an embryo, which should be visible and have a detectable heartbeat after 6 weeks gestation. This exam is best performed after the 7 week mark however, when imaging will be more definitive.

The early obstetrical ultrasound may be ordered to date your pregnancy or to confirm the embryo’s size; it may also be requested if you are experiencing vaginal bleeding or pain in the pelvic area, as well as to evaluate the ovaries.


Special Instructions

  • Please refrain from smoking prior to your exam
  • Take all prescription medications as instructed
  • Many of these exams require a full bladder and it’s important to let your practitioner know if this makes you uncomfortable. If you have problems keeping a full bladder, you may arrive early to drink your water at the clinic
  • You should empty your bladder 90 minutes prior to your appointment
  • Drink 1 liter of water and have a snack between 90 and 60 minutes prior to your appointment
  • Should you be uncomfortable with such a full bladder, you may relieve your bladder of a small amount of urine but not all
  • Your skin should be kept clean and free of body oils, moisturizers and powders
  • Your clothing should be lightweight, comfortable and suitable for easy access to the skin of the area in question
  • Please arrive at least 15 minutes in advance
  • Once the exam is underway, your sonographer will inform you as soon as you may empty your bladder partially or totally, as we understand that a full bladder can be uncomfortable.


  • Please ensure that your young children (if any) are supervised during the course of this exam. It is preferred that young children be invited in at the conclusion of this ultrasound.
  • You may be asked to change into a gown, to give the sonographer better access to the skin of your uterine area
  • A warm, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic gel will be applied to the skin near your uterus and stomach
  • A wand-like transducer will be moved over the lubricated surface of your stomach area, in order to locate the fetus and capture images of your baby
  • Some pressure may be applied with the wand, in order to accurately measure your baby’s head, abdomen and leg bones and correlate your date
  • The length of your exam will depend on how active your baby is, as well as its positioning
  • Be sure to let your practitioner know, should you have trouble holding your bladder at any time during the course of this exam
  • Be sure to let the practitioner know, should you need to move into a more comfortable position at any time during this exam
  • Your sonographer will endeavor to complete this exam in a timely manner, with the results and images to be discussed at the end of the ultrasound
  • Due to the status of the current covid-19 outbreak, we are regrettably only able to permit 1 guest at the conclusion of your exam.  Please provide a reliable method of contact for your guest when booking your appointment.  Your guest must be negative for signs of symptoms of covid-19 and wait outside the facility until the Technologist is ready for their arrival.  Your guest will then receive a phone-call and further instruction from Shift Imaging Personnel.


Our radiologists will interpret your information and aim to forward the results to your doctor by the end of the next working day.


This exam is covered under the Alberta Health Care Plan.