An early pregnancy scan will confirm a healthy pregnancy and rule out a miscarriage. One in six early pregnancies ends in miscarriage. While miscarriage is rare, it can be devastating for the woman carrying the child. An early pregnancy ultrasound will help identify the development of a pregnancy and rule out the possibility of ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when the pregnancy grows outside of the uterus.
The ultrasound also allows doctors to determine the gestational age of a baby. The procedure is incredibly accurate, and can pinpoint the exact gestational age to within five to seven days. It may be recommended by a doctor if you are experiencing irregular periods or are concerned about miscarriage symptoms. However, an early pregnancy scan may change your due date. You should visit your doctor at least 3 weeks after ovulation to schedule an ultrasound.
An early pregnancy scan can reveal an embryo at the first sign of pregnancy. The embryo is still too small to be seen on a scan, but the heartbeat can be heard. The first time an embryo is detected is approximately twelve to seventeen days after a missed period, which is around six weeks’ gestation, calculated from the first day of your last menstrual period. The presence of a heartbeat on a scan is a reassuring sign that the chances of miscarriage are very low. The embryo grows quickly after a missed period and can be seen at three weeks.
A positive urine pregnancy test is also recommended for women with a possible miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Women with a positive urine pregnancy test may have an ectopic pregnancy or may be conceiving in a different location. If these results are unconfirmed, the next step is to have a repeat ultrasound. This may be an emotionally difficult process but it will prevent a misdiagnosis.