When can your baby be seen by ultrasound?

I am an IVF patient and I am four weeks pregnant. Yesterday, I went to the specialist for a vaginal ultrasound. She found a sac, but said it was too early to see much else. At what point (or hCG level) can they see the embryo?


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

Evidence of pregnancy is about more than seeing the embryo. There are several additional indicators that can demonstrate that conception has taken place. However, I will reproduce the chart from "William's Obstetrics" for you and hope that it helps answer your question.

Days from last menses
34.8 +/- 2.2
40.3 +/- 3.4
46.9 +/- 6.0
Beta - hCG mIU/mL
914 +/- 106
3783 +/- 683
3,178 +/- 2898
Vaginal ultrasound findings
fetal sac seen
fetal pole seen
fetal heart activity seen

As a rule, the (beta)-hCG concentration doubles about every one to three days during a normal pregnancy, depending on the gestational age at the time the hormone is measured.

Regarding hCG levels and its relationship to ultrasound, the discriminatory zone is the level of (beta)-hCG associated with ultrasonographic evidence of an intrauterine sac in a woman with a normal intrauterine pregnancy. With conventional abdominal ultrasonography, the discriminatory zone is 6500 mIU per milliliter. On the other hand, with vaginal ultrasonography, which increases the resolution because of the closer proximity to the involved tissue, the level drops to 2800 mIU per milliliter. At a (beta)-hCG level of 1000 mIU per milliliter, 50 percent of intrauterine sacs will be seen.

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