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An ultrasound scan gives you a glimpse of your growing baby. The thought of your first ultrasound can make you both anxious and excited. Timely ultrasounds also help the gynaecologists gauge the health of the baby inside the womb and confirm a healthy pregnancy. If you are nearing the 8th week of your pregnancy, you must be anxious about the upcoming ultrasound. Well, don’t be. Because in this article, we will share everything you need to know about an ultrasound scan at 8 weeks. Let’s begin with why you need one.
Why Should You Have an Ultrasound Scan at 8 Weeks?
An ultrasound at eight weeks isn’t a must. However, your gynaecologist may suggest a scan to check your foetus’ health. This ultrasound scan may be performed for the following reasons:
- To get an idea about the gestational age of your baby.
- To determine the cause of bleeding, if any.
- To check for multiple pregnancies.
- To check whether your baby has a heartbeat.
- To ascertain the size of the embryo.
- To check the health of fallopian tubes and the ovaries.
- To check for any complications such as an ectopic pregnancy.
How To Prepare for Your Eighth Week Scan
An abdominal scan or a transvaginal scan may be performed during the 8th week. Both scans have slightly different requirements, though.
An abdominal scan requires you to have a full bladder. As you are in the initial few weeks of pregnancy, your baby will be very small. So, a full bladder is required to push the uterus up. This helps in obtaining a better image of your baby. Wear loose and comfortable clothing as you may have to expose your tummy for the scan. In this type of scan, a conductive gel is spread over the belly, and a handheld scanner is run over it. The gel enables ultrasound waves to pass to the uterus. The waves then bounce back, giving a glimpse of the foetus.
On the other hand, for a transvaginal ultrasound scan, the bladder should be empty. A full bladder may distort the visuals. In this type of scan, a probe is inserted inside the vagina. It is pressed against the cervix to obtain clear pictures. At times, you might feel slight pressure.
How Long Does the Ultrasound Scan Take?
Generally, the ultrasound scan takes around 20 to 30 minutes. However, it might take longer if the foetus is oddly positioned. Sometimes, dense tissues may also make it difficult and time-consuming to obtain clear images of the baby.
What Can Your Doctor Determine?
If you’re wondering what you can expect to see in an ultrasound scan at 8 weeks, we have the answer! Here’s what your doctor can determine with this scan:
- Size of the foetus.
- Presence of the baby’s heartbeat and the rate at which her heart is beating.
- Presence of multiple babies, which can be determined by the presence of multiple heartbeats and multiple yolk sacs.
- Vague images of growth of tiny hands, legs, and the formation of eyes, nostrils, internal organs, and mouth.
What Can You Expect to See at the Eighth Week Ultrasound?
This is what the embryo looks like at 8 weeks:
- The eyes would have migrated from the sides to the front.
- The embryo would measure 2.3 cms from crown to rump.
- The outer ears would be starting to form.
- Your baby can move his elbows.
- The fingers look like tiny buds.
- The digestive system would have started developing.
- The baby’s head still bends over his stomach.
If There’s No Heartbeat at 8 Weeks, Can It Be a Miscarriage?
In some of the cases, you may not be able to see or hear the heartbeat at 8 weeks. However, that doesn’t confirm a miscarriage. Your gynaecologist may suggest a follow-up scan in the forthcoming week to rule out a miscarriage.
A miscarriage has other symptoms, too, so the absence of a heartbeat shouldn’t make you jump to conclusions.
An ultrasound scan is more like a camera taking a picture of your growing baby. However, it’s good to remember that every baby is different, and so the ultrasound scan reports vary from baby to baby. When in doubt, do not fret, but consult your doctor.
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