Dear Ms Ultrasound,
I have my first sonogram at 7 ½ weeks, will we be able to see the heart beating?
How exciting to be going for your first ultrasound on this child! There is nothing quite like hearing and seeing a separate heart from your own, beating inside you. It really brings the reality of the pregnancy, home, many times bringing tears to the eyes of the parents.
At just over five weeks we are now able to see the first flickering of the heart beating. At seven weeks you will definitely see and hear a strong heart beat and maybe even a little movement from the fetus.
Many facilities like to do what is called a vaginal ultrasound at this early stage of pregnancy. This is when a cylindrical shaped probe is inserted into the vagina. Most Ultrasound Technologists will keep you completely covered with a sheet and ask you to insert the probe, making a sometime awkward moment, more comfortable. This is a painless procedure. The probe or transducer as its called, allows much better resolution, getting a closer look at the fetus. Not all places will do the vaginal ultrasound. Some facilities will ask you to go in with an uncomfortably full bladder. Since sound travels so well through water, the full bladder allows a window of sorts, for the images to be produced through. Some places will do both kinds. Hope you now have the knowledge to go in to the exam comfortable and ready to ... Enjoy!
-- Jane, RDMS
Jane Foley has worked as a Sonographer (Ultrasound Technologist) since 1979. Jane has lived and worked in many parts of the world including Saudi Arabia. She is a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or RDMS. She pulls a wealth of information from her experience in the field of Radiology and her interactions with such a broad cross-section of cultures she has visited. She now makes her home on the island of Maui with her English husband, Michael.