7 Weeks of Pregnancy Ultrasound
7 Weeks of Pregnancy Ultrasound
The first ultrasound of a pregnancy is often an exciting experience. You are 12 to 13 weeks pregnant, and you’re looking forward to seeing the baby who’s been growing over the past 3 months. Although you know they will look alien, they will still be your little alien.
Sometimes an earlier ultrasound may be necessary. Why? Why? Because there is a lot of gestational growth between 7 and 12 week. An early ultrasound can be a totally different experience from the one you get in your first trimester.
The bonding experience of a 7-week ultrasound might not be what you want. There are many things you might not see. Here’s what to expect.
Your First Ultrasound
For more accurate pregnancy dating, health care providers can request an ultrasound. Prenatal ultrasounds are more accurate than those taken later in pregnancy. However, careful measurements in the first trimester can be used to predict an embryo’s age. A sonographer can determine the baby’s age within days using these measurements.
These measurements become less accurate as the baby grows in size. In utero, babies can also grow at different rates. Just as children come in different sizes and shapes, so too. Your health care provider may request an early ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy, chart the baby’s heartbeat and troubleshoot any pelvic pain or vaginal bleeding.
Many people are familiar with ultrasounds through television shows and from friends who have been to exams. Transabdominal ultrasounds involve placing cool gel on the abdomen and using a transducer to emit sound waves that create a picture of your baby’s developing baby. This method is more effective later in pregnancy. However, if the embryo is still very small, the sonographer may need to perform a transvaginal examination.
The transvaginal ultrasound is where the sonographer inserts the transducer in the vagina. The transducer can take pictures of your baby’s growing body and will produce more detailed images than a transabdominal examination.
Your health care provider may be able to make informed decisions regarding how to manage your pregnancy by providing accurate and early dating of your baby’s birth date. Your provider will be able to give you an accurate picture of the age of your baby if you go into labor earlier than expected.
This early glimpse might indicate possible genetic abnormalities. It is important to accurately date for certain prenatal tests such as the quadruple screening, nuchal translucency measures, and other tests that assess the likelihood of genetic anomalies.
Your baby’s heart beat is faster than usual, and his heart tube has developed small bulges. His cells are busy creating the building blocks that will eventually become his 40-pair muscles and 23 pairs vertebrae. Your baby’s limb buds have begun to develop; they look almost like little flippers. His outer ears are starting to shape and he has joint in his wrists, elbows and knees. His eyelids are almost complete.
A 7-week ultrasound is not something that should be done routinely, but there are many reasons your doctor may want to do one. Not all of them fall under the “doom and despair” category.
Doctors order ultrasounds prior to the 12- or-13-week mark in order to accurately date your pregnancy.
If you have pregnancy symptoms that don’t correspond with your last period, or if there is any doubt about the age of your baby , an early ultrasound can help your doctor determine how advanced your pregnancy is.
Another reason to have an ultrasound done early is:
- Confirming multiples or twins, especially if you have had fertility treatments.
- Confirming fetal beat. Your doctor will ask if you are experiencing a miscarriage and what could be causing the bleeding.
- Getting rid of an ectopic baby. You will often experience pregnancy symptoms and positive pregnancy tests even though your embryo isn’t viable. If it isn’t treated, an ectopic pregnant can be life-threatening.
- Examining your reproductive anatomy. Problems with your fallopian tubes, cervix or uterus can lead to complications during pregnancy. If your doctor suspects that you may have a problem, such as uterine fibroids for example, they might want to know right away.
It is not a sign of panic if your doctor orders an ultrasound at 7 weeks. It could be the worst case scenario. However, you should still collect as much information as you can to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
What to expect at your appointment
Pop culture will have you believe that an ultrasound is a magical experience. A technician waves a magic wand across your stomach, and you can stare at a computer screen to see the cute shape of your baby floating in your uterus.
However, that is not what happens at a seven-week ultrasound. Let’s get rid of that expectation now. (Sorry!) Your baby may not be able to be seen on an external abdominal ultrasound. You will need a transvaginal ultrasound.
We admit it sounds less than enjoyable, and it is a less fun procedure. A technician inserts an ultrasonic wand (called a transducer) a few inches into the vagina to reach your cervix.
Next, the technician holds it in place and adjusts the wand to get a better look inside your uterus. Although it’s not painful, it can be uncomfortable.
For comparison, you’ll feel the same pressure during an annual gynecology examination. Although it takes longer than normal, the technicians will make sure you are comfortable.
Good news! The good news is that there’s absolutely no radiation and no risk to your baby. It won’t be a memorable experience, but it won’t cause any harm.
What is the purpose of ultrasound scans during pregnancy?
An ultrasound can be used depending on the stage of your pregnancy to provide you and your doctor with information about your pregnancy.
First Trimester Ultrasounds
- Verify that you are not pregnant.
- You can check if you have a twin or a singleton.
- You must ensure that the pregnancy isn’t an ectopic within the endometrial cavity.
- Examine the source of any bleeding.
- Measure the length of the fetes pole at the crown-rump to date the pregnancy.
Ultrasounds in the Second Trimester
- Verify dates and growth
- You can estimate your baby’s chance of developing Down’s syndrome by measuring fluid in the neck at the back between 10 and 14 weeks.
- Assist with diagnostic tests by demonstrating the position of the baby’s placenta and baby.
- To check if your baby has normal organs,
- Diagnosis abnormalities
- Examine the amniotic fluid level and the position of the placenta.
- Evaluation of the fetal well being
- You want your baby to grow at the normal rate.
- Confirm whether your baby is a boy/a girl.
Many mothers-to-be will experience complications during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure and kidney infections. Because ultrasound scans are pregnancies-friendly, your doctor will refer you to an abdominal/liver scan and a renal scan to check for any possible explanations.
These ultrasound scans do not include pregnancy scans. However, they can be used to diagnose pregnancy problems. Most complications are resolved after birth. As with everything that is related to your health, and your baby’s health, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The early pregnancy scan can reveal:
A small gestation sac may be visible at 5 weeks gestation (3 weeks after conception).
The yolk sac, embryo (fontal pole), and heartbeat may be visible at 6 weeks.
The embryo will reach around 10mm in 7 weeks with a rapid heartbeat.
The embryo will measure 16mm at 8 weeks. The body and head may be easily distinguishable. It is possible to see the embryonic movement.
The embryo at 9 weeks is now a fetes. Head, body, and limbs begin to form.
What you can expect to find
This ultrasound is not for counting fingers or toes. The embryo is too small to allow clear images to be taken. While you may be able to see the shape of your baby, or to know if something is there in general, it is normal not to see anything that looks like a baby.
Your baby’s heartbeat is something you are likely to see often in a healthy pregnancy. You could see it beating 110 times per minute, or even faster! You might see some blinking or pulses if your baby is visible on the ultrasound. This should also be visible on your screen.
On a 7-week ultrasound, you may notice the following:
- Gestational Sac. This refers to the fluid-filled area surrounding the embryo. It is usually formed within 5 weeks of gestation and can be confirmed intrauterine pregnancy by an ultrasound. It will appear as a dark, circular, or oblong-shaped object, which contrasts sharply with the opaque, whitish appearance of your inside uterus.
- The yolk sac. You must spot the yolk sac before you can see the embryo in the gestational sac. The yolk sac is the first thing that develops inside the gestational cavity. It provides nutrients and oxygen for your baby until the placenta forms. It will look like a small, white bubble or ring inside the sac.
- The fetal pole. This indicates that your baby is growing inside the gestational sac. It will appear as a thick, whitish-colored attachment to the yolk sac. It may appear curved or oval depending on how far along your pregnancy is. It is usually detectable by transvaginal ultrasound at 6 weeks gestation. Here you can see the baby’s heartbeat.
Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound Scanning or Medical Sonography, as it is also known, is an imaging technique that uses sound waves to create internal images of the body.
Because the sound frequency used to create ultrasound is in the range of 1-20MHz, it is known as “ultrasound”. These frequencies are not detectable by the human ear.
The probe, or transducer, produces the sound waves. Due to differences in sound transmissions between tissues, they bounce back to their transducer as they travel through the body. The probe picks up the echo’s and an advanced computer analyzes them to create the 2D image on the screen.
There are many types of ultrasound scans available. Each one examines different organs such as the tendons, muscles and joints.
Contrary to MRI and CT, ultrasound doesn’t use radiation. This makes it pregnancy-friendly. It can also be used live for musculoskeletal exams that evaluate the movement of joints.
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