top of page

My first baby ultrasound...

For couples who have been trying to conceive for a while, the day when the urine pregnancy test kit turns positive can be a happy but yet stressful time. Modern urine pregnancy test kits can detect pregnancy hormones as soon as a woman misses her period (typically 4-5 weeks counting from the first day of the last menstrual period or LMP). Most doctors would however, only recommend that an ultrasound scan be done around 7-8 weeks after the LMP. This is because the baby (and its pulsating heartbeat) may not be clearly visible before this. Depending on the stage of the pregnancy, the scan may be performed by placing a device called a transducer on the woman’s tummy or by using a special transducer placed in the vagina.

The first baby ultrasound allows the doctor to:

  1. Confirm the presence of a baby (with a pulsating heartbeat). Sometimes, more than one baby can be seen, such as when twins are conceived!

  2. Make sure that the baby is developing normally _within_ the womb. About 1% of pregnancies develop outside the womb, frequently in the Fallopian tubes. Known as an ectopic pregnancy, this can present with abnormal bleeding and pain. Ectopic pregnancies can be life-threatening and may warrant emergency surgery.

  3. Establish the due date of the pregnancy so that further visits and tests can be planned and scheduled.

Having an ultrasound during your pregnancy is important because it can give your doctor a lot of information about your baby quickly. No radiation is used in ultrasound and the procedure is very safe.

However, you may want to consult your doctor for an earlier scan if :

  1. You are experiencing unexpected pain. Most women may experience the sensation of bloating or mild cramps in the earlier stages of pregnancy. Overt pain is unusual and should prompt urgent medical attention and assessment.

  2. You are experiencing bleeding from the vagina.

  3. You have a previous history of ectopic pregnancy.

  4. You have experienced previous miscarriage(s).

In these cases, an earlier ultrasound scan and/or blood tests may help to rule out serious emergencies such as ectopic pregnancies.


bottom of page