The early weeks of pregnancy can be so hard! You want reassurance that all is well with your pregnancy and you want to see your growing baby. In short, you want an ultrasound! Some doctors will perform a 6 weeks pregnant ultrasound, while some will not.
6 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound – Will you have one?
The answer depends on both your pregnancy circumstances and your individual medical provider.
In a routine pregnancy, the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology recommends at least one standard ultrasound between 18-22 weeks. However, a provider may recommend additional ultrasounds for various reasons.
Some OBs routinely perform an ultrasound at your first visit to confirm a viable pregnancy. That first visit typically occurs when you’re between 6 weeks pregnant and 8 weeks pregnant. Other providers assume all is well unless there is evidence to the contrary (bleeding, inconclusive lab screenings, etc.).
Whether or not you’ll have a 6-week ultrasound may also depend on your medical history. If you have a history of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, your doctor may perform a 6-week ultrasound to ensure your pregnancy is progressing as expected.
What to expect at an ultrasound when you’re 6 weeks pregnant
Assuming you have a 6 weeks pregnant ultrasound, it’s important to have realistic expectations. This isn’t the 20-week anatomy scan ultrasound, where you will get to see your baby in great detail. Instead, the 6 weeks pregnant ultrasound will confirm a few things:
- That your pregnancy is in the right place – specifically, the uterus
- That your pregnancy is developing as expected
- That you’re as far along as you believe you are
At 6 weeks pregnant, the fetus is typically too small to be seen on a traditional abdominal ultrasound. (In fact, the baby’s not even called a fetus at this point — it’s called an embryo.) Instead, you’ll have a transvaginal ultrasound, in which the transducer is inserted into the vagina. This allows for adequate imaging of the tiny embryo.
You probably won’t be able to see much on your own. However, your provider will be able to see if the embryo is in the correct place and developing on schedule. These evaluations will be based on the date of your last period.
If you don’t know the date of your last period (or the date of conception), an ultrasound at 6 weeks can date the pregnancy and give you your expected due date. You may also be able to see the heartbeat at this point (but not always).
What if the ultrasound is inconclusive?
If anything during your scan doesn’t match what your doctor would expect to see on a 6 weeks pregnant ultrasound, he or she will advise you of your next steps.
Most likely, your provider will ask you to wait and come back for an additional ultrasound anywhere from a few days to ten days later. At that point, the doctor will usually be able to tell if your pregnancy is progressing as expected or if there are concerns about the viability of your pregnancy.
If your 6-week ultrasound looks good, you may have another scan at 12 weeks, or you may not have another ultrasound until the standard 20-week anatomy scan.
Feeling a little overwhelmed by all the possible scans? You can check out our helpful guide to pregnancy ultrasounds to get an explanation of the different ultrasounds you may experience during your pregnancy!