Pregnancy Ultrasound for 7 Weeks
A first pregnancy ultrasound is always an exciting occasion. They’ll look just like an alien. But you don’t know what to expect.
Sometimes though, we may need to have an ultrasound earlier than usual. Why? It is because a lot of gestational development takes place between 7-12 weeks. This makes an early ultrasound quite different from one taken in the first trimester.
An ultrasound lasting 7 weeks may not provide the bonding experience that you desire. Here are some things you can expect.
Your First Ultrasounds
For more accurate pregnancy dating, healthcare providers can request an ultrasound. The accuracy of predicting the age of an embryo is greater when taking careful measurements during the first trimester than with ultrasounds taken later in pregnancy. These measurements allow a sonographer to pinpoint the age of a baby within a matter of days.
Because of the variations in growth rates, measurements that predict a baby’s age are less reliable as they get bigger. As children can grow at different speeds, in utero babies may also be different in size and shape. In addition to determining your due date, your doctor might request an early ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy and chart the baby-to-be’s heartbeat. It may also be requested to diagnose pelvic pain or vaginal bleeding.
Perhaps you are already familiar with ultrasounds from watching TV or attending exams with friends. This transabdominal ultrasound is performed by applying cool gel to the abdomen. The transducer emits sound waves and creates a picture. This technique works well later in pregnancy. The sonographer will need to conduct a transvaginal exam early in pregnancy because the embryo may still be tiny.
Transvaginal ultrasounds are performed by the sonographer. The transducer is inserted into the vagina. The transducer will be able not only to take images of your growing baby but also will provide more detail than a transabdominal scan.
An accurate, early date of birth and baby’s expected arrival can help your doctor make the right decisions about how to manage your child. If you are going into labor late or early, your provider will be able to give you an accurate picture of your baby’s age.
These early peeks might uncover genetic abnormalities. For some prenatal tests, such as the quadruple screen and nuchal translucency measurements, and others that are used to determine the likelihood of having genetic abnormalities, accurate dating is crucial.
Your baby’s heart rate has increased to a speed of almost ten times last week. His heart tube is bulging in small areas. His cells are rapidly creating the building blocks for the 40 pairs of muscles and 23 vertebrae that will radiate from his spinal column. Your baby’s little limb buds are beginning to develop.
They look almost like tiny flippers. His outer ears have begun to develop and he now has bones in his elbows. His eyelids have almost been completed.
Even though a 7-week ultrasound isn’t something you should do every day, there are a few reasons your doctor may recommend it.
Doctors often order an ultrasound before the 12- or 13,-week mark to date your pregnancy.
If you don’t have the same pregnancy symptoms as your last period or are unsure about your baby’s age, your doctor can use an early ultrasound to determine your exact stage of pregnancy.
There are other reasons to get an early ultrasound:
- Confirming twins and multiples. This is especially important if fertility treatments have been used.
- Confirming the fetal heartbeat. Ask your doctor if you have any concerns, such as spotting, vaginal bleeding, or a Miscarriage. Also, what could be the reason for any unrelated bleeding?
- Eliminating an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy could be life-threatening if not diagnosed.
- Checking the reproductive anatomy. During pregnancy, complications can arise if there are problems with your uterus or cervix. Your doctor may ask for information if they suspect you have a problem such as Uterine Fibroids.
If your doctor orders a seven-week ultrasound, there is no need to panic. While it might be a worst-case scenario it is possible to gather as much information as possible in order to have a healthy baby.
What to Expect at the Appointment
Pop culture may have taught you that the first ultrasound is an amazing experience. The technician waves a magic device over your stomach and then you look at a computer screen to see the beautiful shape of your baby floating in your abdomen.
This isn’t what happens at a 7-week ultrasound. So let’s just say that this expectation is unfounded. (Sorry!) (Sorry!) Instead, you will need a Transvaginal Ultrasound.
We know it sounds boring, but it is fun. The technician inserts an ultrasound probe, known as a transducer, into your vagina until the device reaches your cervix.
The technician will hold it in place while adjusting the wand as necessary to obtain a clear view of your uterus. While it is not painful, the procedure may feel uncomfortable.
To put it in perspective, you will feel just as much pressure when you go for your annual gynecology check. The procedure can take longer and can make it more unpleasant. However, the technicians are trained in making you feel comfortable.
The good news is that there’s no radiation used and therefore, your baby will not be at risk. There is no radiation or risk to your baby. While it may not be one of your most memorable experiences, it will not cause any harm.
What are the uses of ultrasound scans in pregnancy?
Based on your stage, an ultrasound will give you and/or your doctor/midwife information about your pregnancy.
First Trimester Ultrasounds
- Make sure you’re not pregnant.
- Find out if you have twins or a singleton.
- It is important to ensure that your pregnancy is not ectopic.
- Find out the cause of any bleeding.
- The crown-rump length measurement of the fetus’ pole can be used to determine the date.
Ultrasounds for the Second Trimester
- Verify dates, growth
- Calculate your baby’s risk for Down’s syndrome. Measure the fluid at the back and neck of your baby between approximately 10 and 14 weeks.
- You can help with diagnostic tests by showing the placenta or baby’s position.
- Examine your baby to make sure all his organs work normally.
- Troubleshoot abnormalities
- Evaluate the amount of amniotic liquid and the location of your placenta.
- Evaluation of fetal health
- Make sure your baby grows at the correct rate.
- Confirm that your baby is either a boy or a girl.
Unfortunately, some moms-to-be may experience various complications during pregnancy. These include high blood pressure, kidney infections, and abnormal liver function tests. Your doctor may refer you for an abdomen/liver scan, or a urine scan to examine your symptoms.
These ultrasound scans aren’t pregnancy scans but they do relate to pregnancy. In most cases, the complications resolve themselves after delivery. Like everything related to your baby’s and your health, better safe than sorry.
You can see what you can do during an early pregnancy scan
A small gestational sac might be visible after 5 weeks of gestation, which is 3 weeks after conception.
The yolk sac, fetus pole, and heartbeat might all be visible after 6 weeks.
The embryo will measure approximately 10mm at 7 weeks. It will have a fast heartbeat.
At 8 weeks old, the embryo should be approximately 16mm in size. It may also be possible to distinguish the head and body. You might also see embryonic movement.
What to expect
You won’t be counting fingers and toes during an ultrasound. The embryo is just too tiny to provide clear images. Although you might be able to see the baby’s shape or discern something, it’s normal to not see anything that resembles a baby.
Your baby’s heartbeat will be something you will frequently see in a healthy pregnancy. It could be as fast as 110 beats a minute or faster. If the baby is in an obvious position on the ultrasound screen, you will likely see a slight blinking or pulsing. You should be able also to hear this briefly.
The following are some of the anatomical changes that you might see on a seven-week ultrasound:
- Gestational sac. It is the fluid-filled space around the embryo that is the first sign of pregnancy. It usually forms by five weeks gestation. Most ultrasounds can confirm intrauterine pregnancy. It will be a round or oval shape that is clear and dark. This contrasts well with the transparent, whitish inside of your uterus.
- Yolk Sac. Before you can see an embryo within the gestational cavity, it is important to spot the yolk sac. It is the first thing to grow inside the gestational Sac. The yolk sac provides nutrients and oxygen for your baby’s development until the placenta grows. It will appear as a small, white ring or bubble within the sac.
- Fetal pole. It is the first sign that your baby has formed inside the gestational saline. It will be a thick, whitish form attached to the yolk capsule. It can be either curved or oblong depending on your stage of pregnancy. It can be usually detected on transvaginal ultrasounds within 6 weeks. This is where the baby’s heartbeat would be visible.
Diagnostic Medical ultrasound scan, also called medical sonography, is a painless imaging method that uses sound waves in order to produce images of internal organs.
It’s also known as ultrasound because the sound frequency is around 1 to 20 MHz. These frequencies can’t be heard by the human ear.
The transducer (or the probe) produces sound waves. They bounce back to the transducer because of the different sound transmissions in tissues as they travel through your body. The probe detects any echoes returning to it and then a powerful computer analyses them and creates the 2D image.
There are several types of ultrasound scans. Each scan examines various organs of the body, such as the liver, kidneys, and liver.
Contrary to MRI or CT, ultrasound is not radiation-based and is therefore safe for pregnant women. It is life, so it is great for musculoskeletal examinations to assess moving joints.
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