Missing Limb During 12-week Ultrasound

Jane Foley's picture


Dear Ms. Ultrasound,
I recently had my (first) 12-week ultrasound. Everything seemed to be going fine, but then the technician called in the doctor to do some extra looking. He seemed to be concerned with trying to get a good image of the baby's right arm, and was having difficulty. At the end, all he told us was that he was having trouble seeing the arm, and that it could be a problem but maybe just because it is so early, it was too difficult to see clearly. He suggested we come back in 3 weeks. Of course we are terrified and wondering how common this might be, and whether we should insist on going back sooner.

How common is it to "have trouble" finding limbs during a 12-week ultrasound? Should we be bracing ourselves for really bad news (e.g. a trisomy)?

Thanks for your help in advance,


It is a little early in the pregnancy to make an solid confirmation of limbs. This is best looked at in the mid 2nd trimester. I personally have never seen one limb missing. I don't know if your ultrasound was done vaginally or not. The best way to assess limbs this early is with a vaginal ultrasound. Hopefully when you return for your next ultrasound all will be fine! It will not be necessary to do a vaginal once you are in the 2nd trimester.

If it is not, or you have more questions just let me know.

With regards,
-- Jane RDMS.