The sonographer may or may not be able to detect a heartbeat, depending on how far along you are, says Wilson. The earliest you can see a heartbeat is at five weeks and two days gestation, says Kinnear. Even then, sonographers often only see a heartbeat in 20 percent of early dating scans. While it may be nerve-racking, your doctor will likely send you for a repeat scan in one to two weeks to re-evaluate, says Kinnear. (If your doctor breaks out a Doppler to use on your tummy, you might also be able to hear the heartbeat but probably not until at least 10 weeks.)
Most importantly the sonographer who will do your private ultrasound in London will be able to check that your baby is in the right place i.e. in the endometrial cavity and that you do not have an ectopic pregnancy.
The foetal heartbeat looks like two parallel lines flickering, and it is not always visible at the 6-week scan. The literature suggests that the foetal heartbeat should be around 90-110 beats per minute, but we have seen slower heartbeats with positive pregnancy outcomes.
Sometimes only the gestation sac is visible with no foetal pole or yolk sac, and you might be asked to come back in a week to 10 days. In most cases, this is because you might be earlier in your pregnancy than you think.
We do not recommend a scan before the 6 weeks gestation unless you are worried about a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, as at 5 weeks gestation you will possibly see the endometrium being thickened and echo bright and possibly a gestation sac. A 5-week baby scan however might help to find the cause for any early pregnancy pain or bleeding.
It is more likely that at 6 weeks gestation age you will need to have a transvaginal or internal ultrasound scan instead of a transabdominal scan (through the abdomen). This is because it is a very early stage and everything is still very small. The transvaginal scan probe will be able to get closer to the endometrium and produce a better clearer image of the pregnancy insitu.
Feeling nervous about having an ultrasound scan so early in your pregnancy is normal. Try to stay calm and prepare yourself for what may happen. Bringing with you your partner or a close family member for extra support might be a good idea.
Some mothers to be will, unfortunately, get various complications during pregnancy such as high blood pressure, kidney infections and abnormal liver function tests. As ultrasound scans are pregnancy-friendly your doctor might refer you for an abdominal/liver scan or a kidney scan to check for anything that might explain your symptoms.
The image above shows a 5 week + pregnancy, but it won't always be this clear for all people. We say 5 weeks plus because without being able to measure the embryo, we can only measure the mean sac diameter which is a combination of 3 measurements of the sac to gather an approximate date, but it isn't as accurate and measuring the embryo. At this point we can see the dark area with a small circle inside. The dark area is the gestation sac and the small white circle is called a yolk sac. The job of the yolk sac is to provide the growing embryo with nutrients until the placenta takes over later on into pregnancy. With only a yolk sac to see, we can confirm that the pregnancy is in the right place or not ectopic.
The image above is now showing a 6 week pregnancy at this point it is possible to see the embryo and measure the gestational age quite well, but it is not always possible to see a heartbeat at this time. If the heartbeat is not visible it can cause a lot of worry waiting to scanned again in a week or so time so it's always best to avoid this situation from occurring. This is why, at Early Life Ultrasound centre we offer early pregnancy scans from 7 weeks.
In this image the embryo is now 7 weeks measures approximately 10mm from head to bottom or crown to rump. There is a yolk sac but it can't be seen in this particular image. It is normally possible to trace a heartbeat at this stage, which is why we tend to offer early pregnancy scans at this time. It can can avoid the worry and stress of having wait to be re-scanned if all that needs to be seen cannot be seen in one scan appointment.
There is a however here... Because of the variability in cycle lengths cycle lengths are normally estimated at 28 days but can range from 21 to 35 days. If your cycle is longer then you could be a little less pregnant than 7 weeks on the other hand you could be further along if you have a shorter cycle. If we aim for 7 weeks then most of the time we should see all that needs to be seen in one appointment. It does seem like a long wait to see your baby particularly with the sensitivity of today's pregnancy tests letting us know we are pregnant so early on, but it is worth it.
It is important to remember that if you are experiencing bleeding and/or pain then it is always important to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. A visit to the early pregnancy assessment unit may be in order. There, they can scan and obtain quantitative Beta hCG (pregnancy hormone) measurements that combined with a scan can offer further information, but again, it may be that watching and waiting that would be the appropriate course of action. More on ectopic pregnancy later.....
If you're 6 weeks pregnant, you're in month 2 of your pregnancy. Only 7 months left to go! Still have questions? Here's some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.
And are those little indentations on both sides of the head the sweet dimples you always hoped your baby would inherit from your mom's side of the family? No, they're ear canals in the making. Small dots on the face will form the eyes and button nose in a few weeks.
Another clue? You're in the bathroom more than you're out of it. Frequent urination is a symptom no pregnant woman enjoys, especially when it breaks up the sleep you really need right now, but it's one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy, especially early on.
This was the idea behind "The Issue of Tissue," a collection of photos of fetal tissue published by the MYA Network. The network includes doctors, patients, and activists seeking to counter misinformation about pregnancy and abortion.
At this stage, Fleischman explained, most of the tissue associated with the pregnancy comes from the uterine lining (or decidua). This is the same lining that thickens every month ahead of a person's period, to support a potential pregnancy.
Dr. Kristyn Brandi, an OB/GYN who was not involved in the project, told Insider that the photos of pregnancy tissue accurately depict what she sees when she provides abortion care or miscarriage management at this stage of pregnancy.
"Usually we're seeing the sac and the decidua together," Brandi said. "Sometimes our jobs, in order to make sure that we've removed the pregnancy, involve weeding through the decidua in order to find this very, very tiny sac. But this is all we would see."
In fact, many states outlaw abortion at before the fetus would be able to survive outside of the uterus. An embryo becomes a fetus at 10 weeks of pregnancy, but that fetus is unlikely to survive outside of a pregnant person until about 23 weeks gestation, Brandi said.
The gestational sac is a thin membrane filled with fluid that will nourish the embryo and fetus throughout the pregnancy. The embryo essentially creates its own "house" in the beginning stages of pregnancy, Fleischman said.
"We're not saying anything about a good or bad time to end a pregnancy," Fleischman told Insider. "We're simply saying this is missing information that was out there, and I think you can see from the response that people are pretty surprised by what it looks like."
Brandi said that a lot of her patients have asked her if they could look at their pregnancy tissue after their abortions or miscarriages. Having access to photos like these ahead of time could help them make informed decisions about their pregnancies, she said.
Now, lawmakers in nine U.S. states have passed laws banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, or at six weeks of pregnancy, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization for sexual and reproductive health research and advocacy.
Rather, at six weeks of pregnancy, an ultrasound can detect "a little flutter in the area that will become the future heart of the baby," said Dr. Saima Aftab, medical director of the Fetal Care Center at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami. This flutter happens because the group of cells that will become the future "pacemaker" of the heart gain the capacity to fire electrical signals, she said.
But the heart is far from fully formed at this stage, and the "beat" isn't audible; if doctors put a stethoscope up to a woman's belly this early on in her pregnancy, they would not hear a heartbeat, Aftab told Live Science. (What's more, it isn't until the eighth week of pregnancy that the baby is called a fetus; prior to that, it's still considered an embryo, according to the Cleveland Clinic.)
It's been only in the last few decades that doctors have even been able to detect this flutter at six weeks, thanks to the use of more-sophisticated ultrasound technologies, Aftab said. Previously, the technology wasn't advanced enough to detect the flutter that early on in pregnancy.
After the detection of the flutter at six weeks, the heart muscle continues to develop over the next four to six weeks, undergoing the folding and bending that needs to happen for the heart to take its final shape, Aftab said.
A fetal pole is an embryo, one of the first stages of pregnancy. During a healthy pregnancy, a fetal pole develops into a fetus, then a baby at birth. Talk to your healthcare provider about the results of your prenatal ultrasound and what they mean for your pregnancy.
When you are between 6 and 7 weeks pregnant, you may be experiencing the early signs of pregnancy: your period has stopped and you may have nausea, breast tenderness and swelling, frequent urination and fatigue. 2b1af7f3a8