Has Pregnancy Stopped Growing?

QUESTION

Dear Ms. Ultrasound,
I'm a 23-year-old mother of 1 and 1 on the way. I had a vaginal ultrasound on 1-29. I was expecting to see a baby and heartbeat. Instead there was an empty sac and the start of what my doctor thought was the yolk. The scan said I was measuring about 6 weeks along and he said I looked more like I was 5& weeks.

I got a positive pregnancy test on Christmas Day. How is it possible to get a positive test and only measure about 5-6 weeks when I have known for exactly 6 weeks? The first day of my last period was 11/29. I thought I'd be 8-9 weeks but instead all I am is confused.

Please if you can shed some light I'd appreciate it. I lost a baby at 8 weeks in October. The same thing kinda happened but there wasn't a yolk so I'm guessing I'm ok. Maybe just slow developing?

Thanks so much,
LeeAnn

ANSWER

Hi LeeAnn,
It is of some concern that your pregnancy is not measuring farther along. Since your last period was in November and you had a positive pregnancy test on December 25, ultimately you should be farther along.

There is really only one way to confirm that the pregnancy has stopped growing and this is a second ultrasound in at least a week to ten days. If at the next ultrasound there is still no fetal pole you will have your answer of no growth. This may be what is called a blighted ovum -- when the gestational sac forms without a fetal pole inside.

Make sure when you talk to your doctor you ask a lot of questions. If this baby has stopped growing and it is your second miscarriage, you want to ask about future pregnancies and how to prevent this from happening again.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to write back .

With 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.