Checking for Viable Pregnancy


Dear Midwife,
In December I did a pregnancy test and it was positive. Because of the holidays my doctor couldn't get me in till February 5th. The night of February 4th I started to bleed. It was a dark red for a bit, but then it went to a light pink. I was scared.

My grandmother took me to the ER. They did a urine test, blood work, a ultrasound, and a pelvic exam. After a very long wait a doctor came in and told us that he thinks that I had miscarried since they couldn't find a heartbeat. He told me to wait a week and see if they could fine a heartbeat at the next ultrasound.

I have been told that since they had me pee in the cup when I arrived, and didn't have anything to drink while I was there, that there wasn't enough water in my bladder so that the heartbeat could be heard. Is this true? Please help give me some closure. My family and I are so scared that I lost the baby.


Since this was an early pregnancy, did they do the ultrasound on your abdomen, or did they go in through your vagina? If it was vaginal, you don't need water in your bladder for the test to be accurate. But I agree with them, it may be too soon to tell for sure what is going on. It is best to have a second check to be sure, unless your urine pregnancy test changes to "negative."

I am SO sorry that you are having to go through this, and hope that one way or another, you will have a successful pregnancy soon.

--Cynthia, CNM. PhD.

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.