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Logan Adams
Logan Adams

How Early Can A Pregnancy Be Detected By Ultrasound EXCLUSIVE

How early you can see a baby on an ultrasound depends on the type of ultrasound you receive. A transvaginal ultrasound, not to be confused with an abdominal ultrasound, is most effective when detecting early pregnancy. You may be wondering how early you can see a baby on an ultrasound, but it is important to keep something in mind. The early ultrasound experience may not live up to what you hope for in a first ultrasound appointment, as not much is visible at this time because you will be having a transvaginal ultrasound rather than the abdominal ultrasound.

how early can a pregnancy be detected by ultrasound

Do not worry if your doctor has ordered an early ultrasound scan, as there are many reasons it may be necessary that are not due to bad news. One of the most common reasons doctors order an early ultrasound scan before twelve weeks is to date your pregnancy accurately! If your pregnancy symptoms do not align with your last menstrual period, or if there is confusion about the gestation age of your baby, an early ultrasound will clarify this for your doctor, and they will be able to determine how far along your pregnancy is.

Another reason for an early ultrasound is if you have had fertility treatments because your doctor will most likely want to confirm right away whether you are carrying twins or multiples. Additionally, a doctor can use an ultrasound device to check your reproductive anatomy and rule out any potential problems with the fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, or uterus that may cause complications during pregnancy. Try to stay positive, and remember that while an early ultrasound can be a cause for concern, it can also be utilized to simply assure a safe and healthy pregnancy.

How early ultrasound can detect a baby depends on whether it has been five weeks since your last menstrual period or not and whether your hCG levels have been measured. If you ovulated late, you may be getting your ultrasound too early, and your doctor will need to reorder another to follow up within a week. However, there are other reasons your doctor may not detect a gestational sac on an ultrasound.

Occasionally, ectopic pregnancy can occur in the abdomen, cervix, or ovary. Part of why it is crucial to rule out an ectopic pregnancy is because if this severe complication is left untreated, it can cause internal bleeding and shock. Some of the first warning signs for this complication include pelvic pain and bleeding. If your gestational sac is not visible and your hCG level is higher than 1500 to 2000, your doctor may diagnose ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies are often diagnosed in the ER using ultrasound. The emergency room is a safe and well-equipped place to receive treatment, as the staff is highly trained and knowledgeable.

Chemical pregnancy, also known as an early miscarriage, occurs when the pregnancy stopped developing before the gestational sac becoming large enough to see on the ultrasound device. Symptoms of miscarriage include a heavier than normal period, low hCG levels, excessive menstrual cramping, and lacking common signs of pregnancy such as breast tenderness or soreness, or morning sickness, after a positive pregnancy test. Some health conditions may predispose someone to pregnancy complications, including thyroid disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes, blood clotting disorders, and more. Still, it is important to remember that most women go on to have healthy pregnancies down the line after a miscarriage. Support groups and therapy are valuable options to help cope with the loss as well.

Here at University Park OBGYN, our exceptional and compassionate care team is here to walk through this journey with you, but we encourage reaching out to close friends and family for added support. As exciting as a pregnancy can be, many women may feel anxious before their first ultrasound appointment, and having the support you need present is crucial.