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7 Week Ultrasound

Seven week ultrasound scans are quite common among parents who want to see their baby and make sure everything is progressing properly before the first trimester scan, which is usually offered between 11 and 13 weeks gestation. These scans are commonly used to confirm and check the pregnancy’s viability, growth, and heartbeat. These ultrasound scans can put your mind at ease before the first official ultrasound offered by your doctor.

An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency waves that bounce off your baby to project images picked up by the machine, allowing your doctor to see the baby inside through a moving image.

How do 7 week ultrasounds work?

During an ultrasound scan, your doctor will use a probe device (otherwise known as a transducer) over your stomach to find your baby. They will use a thin layer of gel over your lower abdomen so the probe glides easier and the ultrasound waves transmit through the gel and into your body.

The probe creates high frequency sound waves from electrical currents and sends them into your body’s tissues. These are silent sound waves and you won’t be able to hear them during your ultrasound.

As soon as the sound waves hit something within your stomach, they’ll bounce off it and head back to the probe. This converts the sound waves back into electrical signals and sends the information to a computer which translates the pattern of electrical signals into real-time images, which you can see on the computer screen.

Why might you need a 7 week ultrasound?

You might choose to get an early pregnancy scan before your doctor offers you one to put your mind at ease that your pregnancy is viable and healthy. To do this you will usually go to a private clinic which is separate from your usual doctor. These clinics often require you to pay out of pocket and give you the chance to see your baby before the first trimester scan at 11 to 13 weeks.

Your doctor might also recommend you have an early scan if they think there’s cause for checking your baby out before the routine first ultrasound. There are a few common reasons why your doctor might think you need a 7 week ultrasound scan.

  • To confirm how many babies are in the pregnancy

  • To confirm your pregnancy’s gestational age

  • If you’re spotting or bleeding during early pregnancy

  • To confirm the presence of a heartbeat

  • To measure the foetal pole and make sure your baby is the right size for its gestational age

  • To make sure your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes are healthy and to rule out an ectopic pregnancy

How to prepare for your 7 week ultrasound

There is often no specific way for you to prepare for your 7 week ultrasound scan, although your doctor might ask you to come into the clinic with a full bladder. They’ll usually ask you to drink a litre of water before your appointment to make sure your bladder is nice and big as this helps them see the baby more clearly. As your baby will be around the size of a grape at this scan (10 mm) your doctor might need some help to be able to find the baby.

You should be able to bring a support person with you, too, although you might want to check with your hospital’s policies before this. Bringing children is generally discouraged because the test needs a quiet, dark room to be completed to its fullest.

You’ll need to make it easy to access your stomach, so wear loose-fitting clothing that can be pulled down and up.

Some babies at seven weeks won’t be able to be found through an abdominal ultrasound scan, so you’ll be offered a transvaginal ultrasound instead. If this is the case, you’ll be given a gown and asked to undress from the waist down. There is no specific preparation required for a transvaginal ultrasound, either.

    What to expect from your 7 week ultrasound

    During the scan

    Before the scan your doctor will tell you what kind of ultrasound you’re having so you have time to mentally prepare for what’s to come. While most doctors will aim to perform a transabdominal ultrasound, some doctors only find out that they cannot find the baby through the abdomen and will need to perform a transvaginal ultrasound instead.

    When walking into the scanning room, it will usually be already darkened. You’ll be invited to lie down on the table and asked to pull your waistband down slightly so the doctor can tuck a paper towel in to protect your clothing. Your top will also need to be pulled up.

    Your doctor will place a small amount of water-based gel on your lower abdomen to help the probe better connect with your skin. The probe will be moved in all angles until the doctor finds your baby on the computer screen.

    There shouldn’t be any discomfort here, although some patients find the pressure on their full bladder to be uncomfortable. If you find the ultrasound to be painful or uncomfortable, tell your doctor straight away so they can attempt to lessen the pressure on your stomach.

    Your ultrasound technician will look at your baby and make sure everything is healthy. They might press certain buttons on the computer to take pictures and measurements that will be passed on to your doctor.

    As your baby is so small at seven weeks, if your doctor says they need to perform a transvaginal ultrasound because they cannot see the baby through transabdominal measures. The only difference here is that the probe will be inserted into your vagina instead of used on your stomach.

    An ultrasound scan will often take between 20 and 30 minutes, although it might take longer if your sonographer can’t get a good view of your baby.


    After the scan

    Once your ultrasound technician has finished with the ultrasound and taken all of the measurements they need, they’ll wipe the gel from your stomach and you’ll be invited to fix your clothing. Your doctor might print off some of the photos for you to keep.

    Most sonographers won’t discuss the results of your scan with you, and you’ll need to wait until your doctor has taken a look at the results before they walk you through the findings. If your obstetrician is the one doing your ultrasound, however, they might talk you through their findings as they see them during the scan.

    Plenty of doctors will schedule your appointment to discuss the results right after the ultrasound, so you shouldn’t need to wait long before getting your results. Once you have been told your results, you’ll be free to leave and carry on everyday activities as normal.

    What are the benefits of 7 week ultrasounds?

    There are quite a few benefits of having a 7 week ultrasound, aside from offering reassurance to the patient. Most people believe 12 weeks is a long time to wait before having the first ultrasound, so getting one slightly earlier can put your mind at ease.

    There are a number of other benefits of getting an early dating scan, including:

    • Your doctor can get a good look at your uterus and ovaries during pregnancy, as well as monitor the developing baby’s heart beating and health

    • An early scan can determine whether a pregnancy is viable or not without having to wait the extra weeks for the first ultrasound

    • A dating scan can help determine the date of conception for parents who aren’t sure, and this can be used to determine the due date

    • Ultrasounds are relatively noninvasive and don’t harm you or your baby in any way


    Can you see anything on a 7 week ultrasound?

    Yes, you can see the baby on a 7 week ultrasound. The sonographer will be able to get crucial information from this ultrasound, including how well your baby is growing and how your body is responding to this change. This will most likely be your first chance to see the embryo growing inside you, and you should be able to see the flickering heartbeat.

    Is 7 weeks too early for an ultrasound?

    No, a 7 week ultrasound generally isn’t too early to see the baby. Babies between the ages of 6 and 7 weeks are between the size of a pea and a grape, so they’re still very tiny. However, most early scans are recommended between 6 and 7 weeks at the earliest. You may need a transvaginal scan instead if your sonographer cannot find your baby through a transabdominal scan.

    What does a baby look like on a 7-week scan?

    At 7 weeks your baby will usually measure between 9 mm and 10 mm, making it 10,000 times bigger than it was at conception. The baby’s toes and fingers are now formed, although not quite separated yet. On the ultrasound, you’ll often only be able to see the gestational sac with the baby inside. You might see it flickering with rapid movement, and is often completely normal. Within the baby, you should be able to see the baby’s heartbeat.