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An 8 week ultrasound can be both exciting and a bit scary. If this is your first ultrasound, you’ll be understandably anxious. Getting a glimpse of your baby for the first time will be a memorable moment.
If you’re not sure when you conceived, or, have had a previous miscarriage or pregnancy complications, an 8 – 10 week scan may be recommended. There’s a lot which can be seen at 8 weeks gestation, including the baby’s heartbeat and early development. It will also be possible to work out the baby’s due date, which is why an 8 week ultrasound is often called a dating scan.
Anytime between eight and 12 weeks pregnant, your healthcare professional might suggest that you schedule your first ultrasound appointment. The main reason for this scan is to confirm the gestational age of your baby. This date is based on your baby’s size and development and will be a very close estimation.
Most commonly an 8 week scan is done vaginally. A lubricated probe is inserted into the vagina and an image seen on a screen. Sonographers always seek consent for the procedure to be done and ask if the woman prefers she insert the probe herself or, if she’s comfortable for the sonographer to do this. You’ll need to have a full bladder. Another option is for a transabdominal ultrasound however, at 8 weeks pregnant it can be difficult to see very much through the abdominal wall.
The sonographer will talk with you about what they’re looking for and what they can see. There will be times when they won’t say much and instead, be concentrating on what they’re doing. They’ll be typing into a keyboard at the same time as looking at the screen. Specifically, they’ll be taking measurements, checking for growth markers and doing a comprehensive check on the baby’s development, as well as where it has implanted in your uterus.
The sonographer will only be able to give you general information about what they find. After the 8 week scan, the findings will be read and reported on by a doctor who specialises in reading X-rays and scans. This report will be sent back to your healthcare provider.
Don’t be afraid to ask your sonographer questions. If this is your first ultrasound it’s very normal that you would be curious about what you see on screen.
Though you may not feel very different, there’s lots going on in your uterus. By 8 weeks pregnant your uterus is around the size of a tennis ball. You may feel a sense of pressure or heaviness, especially by the end of the day. And at times, pregnancy cramps could cause a bit of discomfort.
Pregnancy hormones may also be causing you to feel a little more emotional and nauseated, but they all have an important job to do. Supporting your baby to grow and thrive is a 24 hour a day process. Don’t be concerned if you’re feeling tired, that’s normal at 8 weeks pregnant.
At eight weeks pregnant, your baby will measure about 1.2 from the top of its head to its little tail. At an 8 week scan, it’s possible to see the embryo’s development, especially their big head and small body.
Your little one will also start to make involuntary movements, similar to a slight flicker or a jump. These movements are extremely tiny so you won’t be able to feel them. However, if your baby is awake and active, you might see some movements on the screen.
It’s generally a good idea for partners or a support person to come as well. This is especially valuable if there have been early pregnancy complications. Generally, an 8 weeks pregnant scan is a time to enjoy and share.
Your healthcare provider will recommend a suburban clinic which does pregnancy ultrasounds. You may also be referred to a public maternity hospital to have a scan.
Written and reviewed by Jane Barry, midwife and child health nurse on 12/01/20