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Ultrasound or No Ultrasound Before 20 Weeks?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm starting to get a little freaked out about having to wait until 10-12 weeks (?) to hear the heartbeat via doppler at the midwife's office. Hearing stories on here about mamas who had an ultrasound at 7-8 weeks only to discover that development never made it past 4-5 weeks is really sad and scary. With DS I did have an ultrasound at about 6 weeks (?) where they could see the heartbeat, and maybe I had one prior to that where they saw the developing yolk sac...but that's because I was in consultation with an RE at the time. I'm not scheduled to have my first prenatal with the midwife until about 9 weeks, and I know that's too early to hear a heartbeat. I wonder if I should ask for an ultrasound then...for peace of mind.
post #2 of 15
DDCC - peace of mind is a big deal.

I have certainly heard of first appointments at 9 or 10 weeks when heartbeats could be heard by doppler, so there's a chance, but not hearing the heartbeat at that stage doesn't mean anything. I was pretty chill about not hearing the heartbeat at the first prenatal in my second pregnancy, but I lost that one, and I had no cool at all left for my third.

My strategy was to tell the midwives that I was concerned about pregnancy loss, and that I thought I would react very badly to not hearing the heartbeat. If they didn't find it by doppler, I would want to have an ultrasound immediately. If immediate u/s was not available, I preferred not to try to find the h/b by doppler. I could schedule another appointment some other day, when u/s was expected to be available, so that I wouldn't have to go home with inconclusive results.
post #3 of 15

with my first pg they could not find a heart beat at 12+ weeks at the doc office so he sent me to mat ward...they hooked me up and could not find a heart beat either!

they sent me for an emergency ultrasound...and my wiggly little boy was wiggling around...BEAUTIFUL!!!!


so even at 12 weeks the maternity ward could not find a heartbeat....if you are looking for reassurance get an ultrasound...if only for the peace of mind it may bring you.


but try not to panic if they are not able to locate the heartbeat at 9 weeks...





post #4 of 15

If you need it for the peace of mind, I say get it. Even if I hadn't been so crazy anxious about it I would have still gotten an early ultrasound BUT that's because I have a bicornuate uterus so we had to check where the baby implanted. But my anxiety had been through the roof so I really needed the ultrasound to confirm that everything was going okay in there.

post #5 of 15

Peace of Mind is priceless. I was surprised they automatically scheduled me for one at my first visit (using a different practice than I did with DS) but was not opposed. Glad to see the peanut and hear the heartbeat. This was at 8 weeks. They would do another at 12 weeks for the nuchal translucency test, but I don't feel the test is necessary, and hopefully they will be able to hear the heartbeat with a doppler then.


post #6 of 15

I am feeling the same way. I don't have my first appointment until next Monday and I will be 10 weeks. I have never gone this long without having an ultrasound or a doctors appointment. My problem was that we were in between insurance and my new OB did not take my previous insurance so I just became elligible to start seeing her today. I am trying to remain calm over the issue and now it is only a few more days until my appointment but man am I ready to get over there and get an ultrasound!!



post #7 of 15

Severe, prolonged anxiety in the mother can be detrimental to the baby. If an ultrasound gives you peace of mind, then absolutely, have one!

I would in a heartbeat, if I had health insurance. As it is, my coverage won't start until May when I will be close to 20 weeks. I will have to knuckle through, but if you don't, take advantage of it and get a peak at your little bean! The peace of mind for you translates into a healthier environment for your baby. Win-win. 

post #8 of 15

I'm not getting any ultrasounds or using the dopplar because the frequencies can interfere with development.  I heard my last babies heartbeat through dopplar at 10 weeks by the way.  I would not be worried.  Calm down, relax, breathe, take it easy mama!

post #9 of 15
I've had two ultrasounds already (6w4d today) and will be going in for a third next week. After two missed miscarriages, I really feel like I *need* to know that everything's ok. Provided all goes well next week, the next ultrasound we will have will be the 20-week anatomy scan.
post #10 of 15

I had one this week & feel SOOOO much better after seeing the heartbeat. Many people do feel there are risks not worth taking with u/s but personally I am not in that camp. I had MANY u/s with ds which was nice in it's own way. This time I will have one more at 20 weeks (we're opting out of the nuchal scan) & that will likely be it & I am ok with that too. But with having such difficulty getting pregnant it's so hard to believe it when it actually does happen that having that early u/s gives me such a peace of mind.

post #11 of 15

My doctor was having trouble finding the heartbeat at my 12wk appt (apparently my uterus is tipped back and also, body weight makes it difficult), although we did hear what we thought were kicks.   so I am going to an early ultrasound tomorrow and I am so glad.  This is our second pregnancy and for some reason I just can't  relax and settle into believing everything is ok.  So, I am really looking forward to tomorrow because I know, rationally, that everything is probably just fine, and then I can relax!

post #12 of 15

This is our first.  I don't know how I'd feel differently if we were in a different situation (i.e. previous loss, difficulty getting pregnant), but I've declined to get any dopplers or ultrasounds this pregnancy (outside of labor, when our midwives will use a doppler in active labor).  This is our personal choice.


Personally, I am not comfortable with the risks associated with ultrasounds, and I don't feel like the information gained from "seeing" the baby will be beneficial *to us*.  The way I look at it, if the heart is beating, it is beating whether or not I can hear it.  And if it is not, then there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, and I trust my body will know what to do.  Faith is a huge part of our life, and my husband and I truly trust that this pregnancy is in God's hands.  It is my responsibility to take care of myself, rest, and eat well, but to me, it feels like a huge relief knowing that God is watching over this growing baby.  Not to get to philosophical or anything, but we do have faith that the baby is growing as it should be, and it isn't our role to try to "see" into the womb.  I don't feel the least bit nervous about this pregnancy.  I can see my belly is growing, I feel pregnant, and in a few weeks I expect to hear the baby move as well. 


Again, these are *my personal beliefs* on getting ultrasounds.  We feel confident and comfortable that this is the right choice for our family, but I would never ever try to convince another woman that she should make the same choice as me.  Bottom line- this decision SHOULD be the woman's informed choice and decision, whether she wants one ultrasound (or 20) for peace of mind, or whether she isn't comfortable with the risks and declines. 

post #13 of 15

Well it's great that your Faith is so strong. It's certainly a peaceful way to blissfully walk through life....


IME though, horrible birth defects, still births and missed miscarriages happen to even the most believing of people, and while you might believe your body will know what to do-and it usually does-there is the odd time when it doesn't. As someone who, in spite of fully believing in her body's history of healthy pregnancies and deliveries, and in spite of watching my belly grow and believing wholeheartedly that everything was on track...still for no reason we could find I lost 3 babies in just a single year.


So, for me Faith isn't enough. I want to KNOW. I don't need to check for a heartbeat every day, because I too don't believe that the ultrasound/doppler waves are great for tiny beans-but neither is constant worry and anxiety, so I'm glad to be having an ultrasound week 18-which is May 2nd, just to put my mind at ease. If we do discover something isn't 'right' with the baby at that point, we will do whatever we think is necessary. But knowing-regardless of the outcome-is key to my sanity. So that's what I choose for myself and my family, and why.:)



post #14 of 15
Originally Posted by ThreeCats View Post

I've had two ultrasounds already (6w4d today) and will be going in for a third next week. After two missed miscarriages, I really feel like I *need* to know that everything's ok. Provided all goes well next week, the next ultrasound we will have will be the 20-week anatomy scan.

I'll be 13 weeks tomorrow, and have already had 5 ultrasounds...which is about 4 more than I would have wanted. The 1st was too early to find a heartbeat (not sure why doc scheduled it so early), the 2nd found a heartbeat, but it was "too slow" for my doc's comfort. The 3rd found that all was well. The 4th happened when they couldn't find the hb with a doppler at 10.5, and as it was around the time when I had lost two other pregnancies, I agreed to a quick check. The 5th one was for the NT scan and to check on the placenta previa they found in the 4th. Not ideal, but necessary, IMO - both for my sanity, and to be able to "catch" a miscarriage in time to schedule a d&c, as we would have wanted to pursue testing should something have happened.
post #15 of 15

You can probably hear the heartbeat at 9 weeks if you are fairly thin.  Also, whether or not you have an ultrasound this early will not change the outcome of your baby- whether or not the embryo is developing, it will just cost you money.  I would certainly say wait.  Also, the long term safety of ultrasound technology is unknown, so I try to stay away from it as much as possible.  As well as the Dopplar.

If you have not, you should read Ina May Gaskins Guide to Childbirth.  It is very informative, exactly what I needed to prepare for labor and delivery and even just my pregnancy in general.  It helps calm your fears about many things that a woman is nervous about during pregnancy.  It also mentions ultrasounds in there(in the middle of the book), and gives some information about them.  I definatly recommend looking into it!!

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