thread: ultrasounds

  1. #1
    meg Guest


    Hi everyone,

    I am 6 1/2 weeks pregnant. Saw my dr yesterday who felt that if we would not consider a termination for down syndrome (which we wouldn't) then there wouldn't be much point in doing 12 wk u/s as you don't get much information. Better instead to not expose the bub to any radiation and try and assess the heartbeat via the doppler thingy at 13 weeks. I have been reading that sometimes it isn't detectable until 16-18 weeks. I at least wanted to know whether we have a good heartbeat before telling my boss, but don't want to wait til 16-18 weeks. Would prefer not to do a u/s if we can.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Registered User

    Feb 2004

    I thought u/s were supposed to be non-radiation?

    Downs Syndrome can't be detected efficiently except with the amniocentisis scan anyway (oh, and the nuchal thingy) which is why I didn't get any of them down. I had a mini u/s done by my midwife at 12 weeks, and we got to hear the heartbeat. I really loved seeing my child on the monitor, and although DP said he didn't care if we got to see or not, you should have seen the grin on his face for the rest of the day.

    It's all up to you of course. Can you get him to use the doppler, and then cancel the u/s if you're happy with the results?

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Jan 2004
    Melbourne, Australia

    Hi Meg,
    A friend of mine is 11 wks preg. and had twins previously so she has just been to her doctor and by listening to the heartbeat the doctor says there is only one this time. So the heartbeat can be heard that early but I guess if there was anything abnormal it might not be able to be heard.

    Susan's idea of booking a u/s and cancelling it if you don't need it is a good idea. My understanding is that a scan around 18 to 20 weeks was always the normal thing to do and the introduction of the one at 12 weeks is pretty new.

  4. #4
    Jelicle Guest


    I thought the other reason for the 12 week ultrasound was to accurately work out your due date?


  5. #5
    Registered User

    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW

    Hi there - at the 12 week scan the baby's back of neck can be measured for chromosomal abnormalities, so it can give an idea about certain diseases such as down's syndrome... but it only gives you a ratio, so a 1 in 100 chance (which is a high chance in most cases!) that the baby will have a chromosomal defect... so it isn't that accurate, but it is wise to do if you are over 35 years old because that is where they see a higher incidence and if you want to know before the baby is born then you can do it. They do measure the baby and can change your date accordingly if needed, but really it may only be a few days different unless you have irregular periods.

    I had a scan done at 9 weeks as an emergency and we could see and hear the heart beating, at 12 weeks I had a doppler reading and could hear the heart rate, and could identify if there was a murmer at that time the reading was that accurate....

    Sorry for such a long winded explanation but these are what I have read and/or experienced. I hope this helps!


  6. #6
    meg Guest

    Thanks for your ideas.

    Christy- that is great to hear that you did hear the heartbeat at 12 weeks, do you know if that is fairly common or not?

    Sorry susan, you are right, it isn't radiation risk, I went back to my book and apparently there is research indicating that there may be subtle effects on neurological status, blood cells, immune system and genetic makeup for the baby. It sounds like many studies are not in agreement. That is a good idea re if not happy with doppler to then go to u/s.

    I totally know my due date, as I know my cycles really well ( we have been trying for a while) and about 3 days post conception I get breast changes.

    I am planning on having a 19 week u/s and we will probably find out lots more then, so still not sure if I need a 12 wk one.

    It is sometimes hard to trust my own intuition that everything is fine and we will have a beautiful healthy baby, so that is what I am really trying to practise at the moment!

  7. #7

    Hi Meg

    at 12wks we could not hear my 1st borns heartbeat with the doppler, but could at 14wks.

    I was 11wks when I heard the heartbeat with our 2nd

    Love :smt049

  8. #8
    Kooeyau Guest

    Hi I am new to this forum, I found out i was pregnant at 5 weeks and my Doc arranged an ultrasound that i had done at 6.5 weeks(both external and internal ultrasound) to check my due date.Although you couldn't see very much way too small you could see the heartbeat on the monitor even though you couldn't hear it. The ulstrasound lady measured the heart rate and said it was 128 bpm(which is apparantly normal)
    Is anybody here from the Sunshine Coast ??
    I am currently 10 weeks and I am on the hunt for a good Ob/Gyn If anybody has any recommendations let me know

  9. #9

    Hi Kirsty

    We had a member from the Sunshine Coast join not long also. Also it may pay to the check out the "members in QLD" thread. People can also recommend OBs/Gyns in the recommend section but not sure if anyone has posted any from QLD

    Hope this helps and by the way. Welcome to BellyBelly

    Love :smt049

  10. #10
    Registered User

    Mar 2004
    Switzerland at the moment

    Okay - so I will go to my first U/S in about 10 days (haven't booked yet - will on Monday). I will be exactly 7 weeks then.
    I was wondering whether at that stage it will be a vaginal scan or whether it's the "normal one" with the thing on your belly???

    Read on a website that up to 14 weeks they are mostly vaginal, so I am a bit scared now and not sure what to expect!! Can anyone enlighten me?

  11. #11
    ♥ BellyBelly's Creator ♥
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    Feb 2003
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia


    I've had early scans both external and internal but you have a right to ask for an external scan only. Internals are much clearer and detailed, that's all. Don't let them push you into it, it's not needed at all.

    Also, the earlier the scan, the easier you are to date your pregnancy. Once a foetus reaches a certain age, their genetic characteristics take over and they grow at their own rate / proportions.

    Thought I would share an interesting bit of information with you - do you know that dopplers are more concentrated than ultrasound? Ultrasound has 'breaks' as it has to bounce back to give an image. Doppler is a continous ultrasound so thank goodness they are quick - there is an article on it by Dr. Sarah Buckley in the ultrasound gallery pages. This is why I decided against hiring out handheld dopplers, we were going to do it via BellyBelly. Also from the scans I have had, the baby doesn't seem to like it very much, they often turn away from the ultrasound, so I am even thinking of skipping the ultrasound my Ob wants me to have next week to date my pregnancy (I am pretty sure when I ovulated as I charted but hadn't had a period yet since Marisa was born).
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    In 2015 I went Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team

  12. #12
    Melinda Guest


    For me personally, it was essential for me to have transvaginal (TV) scans until I was 14w as I have a retroverted uterus (i.e. tilted back). Having a 'retro ute' (LOL) makes it particularly hard for anything to be seen externally, full bladder or not as it is in a different position to 90% of the female population.

    I have had a number of scans over the past 6 - 8 years due to some gynaecological issues such as an ovarian cyst etc etc and my m/c's last year, and each and very time, they have had to be TV scans. I can tell you that they are much clearer than external ones, however since I reached the 14w mark when the baby was able to be detected externally, I have been having external scans.

    As Kelly said, you don't HAVE to have a TV scan if you're not comfortable with it - you always have the right to refuse this. Now I know this is going to sound really gross, but at scans that I have had at u/s clinics, I was asked if I wanted to "insert the probe"....i.e. you can do it or the sonographer can do it. I can only assume that this is most likely a standard practice - so don't feel that if you do agree to have an internal scan that you can't have control over this aspect IYKWIM - in any event, you should at least ask if you would be more comfortable inserting it yourself. However, all of my u/s for this PG (bar 1) have been done by my OB, and he inserted the probe himself, but it actually didn't bother me since I've had so many of the damn things over time (gawd...it's bad thinking that I have actually become used to those retched things!)

    HTH Snowy...I know it can all be a bit scary and yucko!

    OK...enough of the gross stuff!!!

  13. #13

    I on the other hand have only ever had external scans never been given the option of one or the other. After reading Tooties post I think I'd prefer external LOL.

    Love :smt049

  14. #14
    Melinda Guest

    I think they're a preference in anyone's books Kat! LOL

  15. #15
    Registered User

    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW

    LOL when I went in for a 9 week scan it was external... after being terrified of an internal scan... and when she asked me to pull my shirt off I nearly hugged her!


  16. #16
    Pietta Guest

    Because I have PCOS I have had about 8 internal scans. At first it felt uncomfortable but it is less uncomfortable than having a pap smear. I actually had internal x2 this preg and I don't find them too bad at all. Once you are comfortbale (i.e. not clenching around the 'probe') it is okay. You get much more involved in looking at the baby than the probe.

    Just for a less scary view!! :P

  17. #17
    Registered User

    Mar 2004
    Switzerland at the moment

    Hi everyone,

    thanks for all the replies. Tootie - my gyno told me YEARS ago, that I have a retroverted uterus (retro ute.. i like that, lol). I don't know if that can change (read on some website something about being able to move it manually .. which sounded freaky), but as far as I know, I should still have the retroverted uterus... so it sounds like I will have to have a TV one.

    I don't think I'm really scared of a TV - I believe that same gyno did one years ago (it kinda looked like an electric toothbrush (without the toothbrush part, just size wise I mean) with a round blob on top?) - no idea what he was looking for, but since I trust that guy 100% I wasn't worried. (damn it that he's in Germany and about to retire).

    The only thing that worries me a bit is that I am going to this sterile radiology place, will have a radiologist I have never seen in my life and he will do it.. which is just a bit weird ('hi stranger, why don't you go and put that stick in my vagina'). Also not knowing what to expect always makes me really uncomfortable (and I don't want to be the woman who strips off all her clothes and he/she goes "what are you doing" or vice versa)

    Have no idea what to expect but am very happy to have Monkey there with me (who will be just as clueless - or even more - than me)

    Kelly - watching my best friend's video of her u/s when I visited her in NZ (her bubba is now 3 months) totally freaked me out, because the baby actually looked like it was in pain. It kept on trying to move away from it and kept on raising its arms like the u/s was hurting its ears or eyes. It totally turned me against too many u/s, especially at a later stage when the neurons have developed. It was really scary, so I can relate.

    Pee, thanks for making it sound less scary - I hope I know what to expect a bit more now and will relax (and maybe be able to insert it myself).



  18. #18
    Melinda Guest

    Hey Snowy,

    Sorry mate - I hope I didn't freak you out with the whole TV scan thing. By choice I wouldn't have them done because it's not really all that flash when you've got some stranger doing it and DH/DP sitting there at the same time LOL, but I am used to them now and it doesn't bother me, and you do get a pretty clear picture!

    About the retro ute LOL - yep, you should still have it. AAAAGES ago they used to think it was something bad that needed correcting, but this is no longer the practice. It quite often means that you have more painful periods etc (including back pain with it). So there is no need for it to be fiddled with (OMG...what an expression I have used there! LOL).

    And I had to laugh at likening the TV thing to an electric toothbrush minus the brush part!! HILARIOUS!!! But yeah, what you described certainly sounds like it!