Ultrasound: Can You Insist On An Early Pregnancy Ultrasound?

Seven months ago, I suffered a miscarriage with my first pregnancy. My doctor didn't schedule me for a sonogram until week 13, although there was no fetal heartbeat at nine weeks. After I started bleeding and cramping, a sonogram revealed a blighted ovum. I am now pregnant again (seven weeks) and I don't want to go through another 13 weeks with no definite answer. As a viable fetus should be detected by eight weeks, would I be wrong to insist upon a sonogram at eight weeks?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Yes, I believe that you are well within your rights to request any procedure that you feel would make sense for your physical or emotional wellbeing. Your provider then must decide to do the procedure or explain his reservations. If he refuses to order the ultrasound, you can choose to contract with another provider, if possible. Sometimes, HMOs or insurance plans will refuse to pay for what they consider unnecessary procedures, but the emotional health of the mother can certainly be an indication.

I would recommend listening with a doppler for an extended period of time with the probe aimed in many different positions directly above and to either side of the pubic bone. It is also often possible to hear the fetal heart at eight weeks, if the provider is patient and the uterus is flexed anteriorly.

If the heart beat is not heard, you could return at weekly intervals until it is. In your case, however, it would be perfectly reasonable to verify the pregnancy by ultrasound.

I wish you the best with this pregnancy.

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