Early Pregnancy Ultrasound

Not all pregnant women need an early first trimester ultrasound. Some of the reasons why an early first trimester ultrasound may be requested are listed below:

  • Uncertain last period
  • Bleeding
  • Pain
  • Past history of ectopic pregnancy
  • Excessive nausea
  • Recurrent miscarriages

On a first trimester ultrasound we can:

  • Confirm that the embryo is alive by seeing heart movements. These should be seen from 6 weeks onwards, when the embryo is 5mm.
  • Calculate the gestation and the estimated due date
  • Diagnose multiple pregnancy
  • Diagnose ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus)
  • Check the uterus and ovaries for fibroids or cysts.

Early in pregnancy transabdominal views may be very poor. It may therefore be advisable to perform a transvaginal ultrasound. A narrow, gel covered probe is gently introduced into the vagina. Most patients experience no pain or only very mild discomfort. The ultrasound is performed with an empty bladder and can be performed even when there is bleeding.