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8 Week Ultrasound: Here's What Doctors Are Looking For

What doctors are looking at on an 8-week ultrasound.

Women who are trying to get pregnant will be able to figure out that they are pregnant around the time of their missed period. Some women can even get a positive test as early as 6 days before their missed period. When women find out that they are pregnant they get really excited and they might want to immediately call their doctors to get see an ultrasound of their little baby. Most doctors will not even see you until at least 6 weeks for an ultrasound.

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An ultrasound might not even show a baby until 6 weeks. If you go into an ultrasound before 6 weeks your baby won't even show up on the screen. The baby will be too small that the gestational sac might show up, but the baby will not, therefore, there won't be a  detectable heartbeat. Therefore an ultrasound before 6 weeks would be a little bit pointless. If you know the date of your last period the doctors will be able to estimate your due date and can thus tell you how far along you are. They will most likely want to see you for your first ultrasound at around 8-12 weeks. However, you may be wondering what they will be looking for on your 8-week ultrasound.

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Your first ultrasound is your "dating scan" and they will be able to tell you a more definite due date. You might have a good idea based on your past period, but they will be able to tell you exactly how far along you are. On your 8 week ultrasound, you will see a dark circle in your uterus that is the gestational sac. You will also see a little blog in the middle of the dark circle; that is your baby. The tech will check that there is a viable heartbeat. A heartbeat at 8 weeks should be detected. They will check the heart rate to make sure that it is beating at a good pace. The tech will also measure the size of the embryo, check to see if there are multiple embryos, the health of your fallopian tubes and ovaries, and to make sure that the baby is in the uterus and not an ectopic pregnancy (an embryo developing in the tubes).

The 8-week ultrasound will most likely be done vaginally through a transvaginal ultrasound. Since your baby is still so small sometimes an ultrasound tech won't be able to see what they need to if they go on the stomach.  If your doctor orders a transvaginal ultrasound you will be asked to have a full bladder before the ultrasound. A transvaginal ultrasound should be painless and you will be able to see your baby easier.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Good luck!

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