When Can We See the Fetus?

Jane Foley's picture


Dear Ms Ultrasound,
I would like to know when you can actually "see" the baby in an ultrasound. I am between seven and eight weeks pregnant and have done two ultrasounds and one vaginal ultrasound. There is still nothing.

I have a baby who is four months and the doctor told me to be kind of on a bed rest because I had spotting and pain in the area of the ovaries. He told me not to do any "hard" work or heavy lifting. My daughter is now pretty heavy so I have had family take care of her.

I am just all confused because I am not having "fun" with daughter on walks and going out and visitng and stuff like that. I dont want to be wasting fun time with her or not enjoying her but I don't want to hurt the baby. I just want to know because the lady who did the ultrasound last time said to wait until ten weeks to actually "see" something.

Help please.



  • A gestational sac should be seen with a vaginal ultrasound by five weeks. At that time the sac should have what is called a yolk sac within the gestational sac.
  • By the end of five weeks a flicker of a heartbeat should be seen.
  • By six weeks a very small fetal pole with an obvious heartbeat should be seen.
  • At seven to eight weeks a fetal pole is a must if the pregnancy is growing properly.

In many circumstances, the OB/GYN will do the ultrasound If nothing is seen in a sac that by seven to eight weeks after your last menstrual period, a blood test will be done. The blood test checks what is called your HCG level. This is an abbreviation for the hormone in your blood that should double every 24-48 hours.

A repeat ultrasound will be done in 7-10 days. It should also give you an answer.

I know the waiting game is difficult especially with a your child to care for. Taking it easy is prudent, but waiting until 10 weeks seems excessive.

With Regards,
Jane Foley, RDMS