When hopefully, your pregnancy test is positive after completed treatment, you will be offered a pregnancy scan free of charge.

Pregnancy scans are primarily made on Mondays or Tuesdays, and there are always two doctors present.

How many weeks pregnant am I and when is my expected date of delivery?
Since a pregnancy is always calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period, you should subtract two weeks from the date when you had egg retrieval performed or were inseminated. This means that “theoretically”, you are already 2 weeks pregnant (2nd week of gestation) when you have had your eggs retrieved or you have been inseminated. When you make the pregnancy test 2 weeks after egg retrieval or insemination, you are already 4 weeks pregnant, even though in essence, you are only 2 weeks pregnant.

When you are scanned approximately 4 weeks after your positive test, you are 8 weeks pregnant.

You can calculate your due date by using the Due Date Calculator on the frontpage our website.

What is an ultrasound scan?
Ultrasound is high frequency sound waves reflected by the tissue they encounter. The use of advanced equipment these sound waves are transformed into an image on the screen. Ultrasound scans of embryos have been used for more than thirty years and we have never seen any signs of damaging effects on the embryo/foetus or the mother.

How is the scan performed?
In very early pregnancy, until approximately pregnancy week 11- 12, the best image quality is obtained via transvaginal ultrasound scan (an internal probe, or transducer, that enters the vaginal cavity) compared to the ultrasound scan performed on the stomach. Even embryos of a few millimetres can be seen on the monitor. The scan procedure is painless.

It is a good idea to have emptied your bladder prior to the transvaginal scan.

What is an ultrasound scan used for?
The first scan will show us if the embryo’s heart beats, which is normally possible to see already from pregnancy week 7 together with the size of the embryo and the number of embryos.

It is only possible to see very severe defects at this stage. 

Who and how many people are allowed to come along?
You may bring along one, only one, person to the scan in the unlikely event that the foetus is not alive, since psychologically, it is very tough to grasp such a message if you are alone.

As the scan procedure should be carried out in a calm and concentrated environment, please do not bring along children. It is also our experience that children are very disappointed of the pictures on the screen as – understandably enough – they expect to see the picture of a small baby.

When can you expect to see what?
From pregnancy week 4 +3 days, you can see a small gestation sac measuring between 2-5 mm.

From week 5 +1 day to week 5 +5 days, you can see the yolk sac inside the amniotic cavity. In all pregnancies, this should be possible to see when the gestation sac is >12mm.

From week 5 +2 days to week 6 +0 days, a small embryo of 2-4mm length becomes visible. It should be possible to see the embryo when the gestation sac has a diameter of  >18mm.

From week 6 +1 day to week 6 +6 days, the embryo takes on a bean-like shape and measures approximately 4 to 10mm from head to tail. At this point, it should be possible to detect a heart rate.

From week 7 +0 days to week 7 +6 days, the embryo will measure between 11 and 16mm, and it is now possible to see the difference between the head and tail. In the head, a small black area appears, which later on becomes the brain. The spinal cord appears as two parallel lines. It is possible to see the umbilical cord. 

From week 8 +0 days to week 8 +6 days, the foetus will measure between 17 and 23mm. What is later to become arms and legs appears on the scan as tiny protrusions. 

From week 9 +0 days to week 10 +0 days, the foetus measures between 23-32 mm. Arms and legs are clearly visible on the scan and it is also possible to see hands and feet.

If we summon an extra doctor
Sometimes, ultrasound scan images can be difficult to interpret, especially if the female is obese, has large intrauterine fibroids or has a heavily posterior uterus. In these cases, we have a policy at our clinic that we summon a medical colleague to make sure that we are two doctors assessing the scan. There is thus no reason for the pregnant woman to think that something is wrong with the foetus. Luckily, this will rarely be the case.

What happens if something abnormal is found during the scan?
Occasionally, we detect abnormalities during the scan, and in such cases, we will offer a repeat scan one week later. If the foetus’ heart does not beat, ie we cannot detect any heart signals, we will inform you of the various possibilities for terminating the pregnancy. After such bad news, most people would like to go home and think things over as it is very difficult to understand vital information in a situation of shock.

What are the treatment options if the embryo/foetus has died in early pregnancy?
One week later, you will be subjected to a repeat scan to confirm our finding, and you will be informed about the three options:

1. Medical treatment. Recommended in the case of embryos measuring less than two centimeters. Most females will respond to this treatment. The bleeding lasts for almost one week and will then be followed by approximately 5 days of spot bleeding. Treatment is made at home. You will be provided all the necessary medicine at the clinic.

2. Surgical treatment. Is performed under full anaesthesia in a gynaecological operating theatre at a hospital in your catchment area. The bleeding will last for 2-3 days on average, and after this, there will be approximately 5 days of spot bleeding. The risk of infection is slightly higher than in medical treatment.

3. Spontaneous expulsion where you just wait for a heavy menstrual-like bleeding, which may occur within a few days or maybe not until a few weeks later. 

 

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