How Early Can An Ultrasound Detect Pregnancy? The Answer Might Surprise You!

If you are not aware, an Ultrasound is a high-frequency scan using sound waves, which is used to scrutinize the body’s internal structures. These waves are produced by a vibrating crystal which is a handheld scanner. These reflected sound waves are then transformed into a two-dimensional image which is cast on a monitor.


And since a baby develops inside a mother, ultrasound can be used to check pregnancy and also monitor the baby’s development to help detect abnormalities and diseases such as the deadly Zika virus and Downs syndrome.

Since this test does not produce very high definition pictures, the abnormalities have to be confirmed by doing tests. Though this scan is not 100 percent accurate, it comes with several other benefits being that it is noninvasive, safe for both the unborn baby and the mother and also noninvasive.

How Early Can An Ultrasound Detect Pregnancy

Ultra sound can be done during this period if you have had a miscarriage in the past, if you want to determine if you have twins, or if you are not sure about your last period.

The only reason people use ultrasound before 5 weeks is to help determine whether it is an ectopic pregnancy. If you are having pain around the womb area or you feel uncomfortable, the doctors can also use it to check what is going in your womb. Apart from this, an ultrasound can achieve very little during this period.

Normally, if you are going for an early ultrasound test, it will be done through the vagina since it is deepest during the early weeks of pregnancy. This test can only be used to check whether the embryo is developing in the uterus or the fallopian tube.

Though ultrasound can detect pregnancy as early as five weeks, the later it is done the more that can be seen. So, what can ultrasound tests achieve in these early stages it can detect pregnancy, well, let’s have a close look from the earliest it can detect.

  • Five weeks

  • Six weeks

  • Seven weeks

  • Eight weeks

  • Nine weeks

The entire limbs, body, and the head can be seen at this stage. The baby has already taken the shape of a human being and is almost fully formed. It now assumes the name of a fetus.

During the earlier weeks of a pregnancy, especially six weeks and below, the baby can be missed out by the test but twins can easily be seen

In The More Advanced Stages Of Pregnancy, Ultrasound Can be Used To:


The First Trimester

When an ultrasound test is performed within the first three months of pregnancy, it is used to check whether a fetus is already developing in the womb. Or if it is developing in the fallopian tube, a condition which is known as myopic pregnancy. It is also used to determine the number of fetuses developing in the womb and also calculate the gestational period of the baby. Through an ultrasound at this stage, the doctor can also determine the due date of the baby.


Second Trimester

This is performed during the 18th to the 20th week of pregnancy and is used to monitor the development of the baby’s body organs such as the limbs, spine, internal organs and the brain. The location and size of the placenta are also monitored at this stage. If the parents wish to know, the sex of the baby can also be confirmed during this stage.


Third Trimester

This ultrasound is performed in the 30th week of pregnancy. It is used to monitor the growth of the embryo and also to confirm that the baby is growing at a normal rate. During this stage, the location of the placenta is also scrutinized to ensure that it does not block the cervix which could result in birth complications.

Medical Issues To Consider

Ultrasound is a non-invasive, painless and a safe procedure. If you are a parent, you should consider this procedure if you want to know the sex of your child or even see it for a minute. Nonetheless, you should be aware that an ultrasound procedure can pinpoint a child’s abnormalities; more tests are also required to confirm these findings.

The Procedures Available For Ultrasound

The procedure will depend on the type of the ultrasound used, which includes:

Transabdominal Ultrasound

When performing this procedure, sound waves are allowed to pass through water. The doctor will then use a full bladder as a gateway to gain access to your uterus. For this test to be successful, you have to take a lot of water prior to the test.

You will then lie on a table, and then a gel is smeared to your lower abdomen (it is meant to give contact between the scanner and the skin. To have a good view of the baby, the sonographer will move the scanner to various positions which then display the baby on a screen monitor. This scan normally takes 30 minutes, and the sonographer will sometimes be required to use some force for him to see the deeper places.

Vaginal UltrasoundIf

The procedure mentioned above might fail to produce images that are clear enough for the doctor to analyze. This could be due to the reason that the bowel could have a lot of air which makes the conductivity of the sound waves poor. In such a case, the scanner has to be inserted into your vagina. It will also take 30 minutes.

Immediately After The Ultrasound

After the doctor is through with the ultrasound, you will be given tissues to wipe off the gel from the abdomen then you may visit the washrooms. The results of the tests are then sent to a doctor who analyzes the images and you have to make an appointment to get the results.

Possible Complications

For the many years that ultrasound has been performed on mothers and children, there has been no known complications, risks or even side effects to the mother or the baby.

Taking Care Of Yourself At Home

There is no need for special care after the ultrasound test. Normally, this test is noninvasive, painless and safe for both you and your unborn child. You can carry your business around without having to worry too much.

Long Term Outlook

Whatever happens, after this, is dependent on the results of the test. It is also important to bear in mind that normal results from the ultrasound do not necessarily mean that the unborn baby is normal. There are several defects that cannot be identified by an ultrasound test.

If the test detected any abnormalities with the fetus, it is good that you insist for more test to confirm the findings. Tests such as chorionic villus sampling, And amniocentesis are available but completely optional. Before you take any of these tests, it is important to discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits of the test before making the final decision.

Things To Bear In Mind

As I conclude, there are things I would like you to bear in mind

  • Ultrasound is used to test pregnancy, monitor the development of the baby, help identify any abnormalities and also detect the presence of more than one fetus.
  • This test can’t be 100% accurate, but it also has several benefits such as it is noninvasive, painless and also safe for you and your baby.
  • In case the test detects any abnormalities with the fetus, you should request the doctor for further tests that will be used to confirm the diagnosis. These tests include chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis
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Kathy W. Garrett

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