Could Tipped Uterus Hinder Ultrasound?

QUESTION

Dear Ms Ultrasound,
Hi. I just had my ultrasound done today and I am 9 weeks pregnant. I am 32 years old and this is my 3rd pregnancy. I have one live child from my 1st pregnancy. Miscarried the 2nd pregnancy due to blighted ovum. The U/S technician first did the abdominal thing and found my uterus to be tipped and said she couldn't see anything. She had me empty my bladder and then proceeded to do a vaginal probe ultrasound. She looked for 5 minutes and claimed there was nothing there.

I have had absolutely no bleeding or cramping. I have the worst case of morning sickness (all day/night long) I've ever had.

Could my tipped uterus be hindering seeing anything? Wouldn't there have to at least be a sac? I don.t understand how I can be so sick and there not be anything there. Thank you for your response.

Jo-Anna

ANSWER

Dear Jo-Anna,
First off, a tipped uterus should not make any difference in what is or isn't seen. If the sonographer did not see anything in the uterus my next question would be: Are your menstrual cycles regular? It may be the pregnancy hasn't grown big enough to see yet. This is the most common case -- miscalculation of dates.

I would suggest you call your doctor and tell her/him that you had your ultrasound and they did not see a gestational sac in the uterus and that you are experiencing bad morning sickness. The doctor will probably order a blood test to check your hormone levels or your HCG levels. There are certain levels where the doctors knows a gestational sac should be present in the uterus and these levels should double every 24-48 hours.

Now, the doctor will be doing some detective work. He/she will ask, "Are your dates off and the pregnancy is just too small to see?" and "Do you have a pregnancy growing in the tube?" (ectopic or tubal pregnancy) These can be small and go undetected sometimes on an ultrasound. "Did the pregnancy stop growing before it could be appreciated on an ultrasound yet you still have enough hormone level to make you feel morning sickness?" A follow-up ultrasound will most likely be ordered within the next week. This with the HCG level should give the doctor a clear picture of the status of your pregnancy.

When you are told results of an ultrasound like this, where you feel pregnant yet no sac is seen, you must be prudent when listening to your body. If you experience any lower abdominal pain that you know is unusual call your doctor or if that is not possible go to the ER so they can do another ultrasound to make sure you do not have a tubal pregnancy.

Jo-Anna, hopefully you were just too early to see anything in the uterus. Let me know if you have any more questions.Kindest regards,

-- Jane, RDMS

Jane Foley

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.