Meeting Your Baby: What to Expect During Your First Ultrasound

Baby’s first ultrasound

The ultrasound is a diagnostic test to visualize the image of your baby and your internal organs to know their health status. Throughout the pregnancy, several ultrasounds are performed that are scheduled for weeks depending on what you want to diagnose. The first ultrasound of your baby will be the one performed around week 8 of pregnancy. It is a non-invasive test and has no consequences or contraindications for the pregnant woman or the baby.

Two methods of performing ultrasound:

  1. One is transvaginal ultrasound
  2. Another is abdominal ultrasound.

Transvaginal ultrasound:

  1. It is used to visualize a gestation of a few weeks.
  2. The gestational sac, the gallbladder and the embryo can be seen in more detail.
  3. It is used to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy.
  4. The gestational sac can be visualized at 4 or 5 weeks of pregnancy.
  5. It is used in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Abdominal ultrasound:

  1. It is used from the second trimester of pregnancy.
  2. It is used to measure the baby in parts.
  3. It is used to diagnose placental and amniotic fluid alterations.

How is an ultrasound performed?

Any of the techniques is done in a lying position and you can see the images on a screen similar to television. Pictures of the baby are taken during the ultrasound or a video may also be taken. A written report is given to you to take to your doctor.

How many ultrasounds should be done during a normal pregnancy?

Three ultrasounds should be done during an uncomplicated pregnancy.

  1. The first between 6 and 12 weeks for the diagnosis of pregnancy.
  2. The second between 16 and 20 weeks for the diagnosis of fetal malformations.
  3. The third after 32 weeks to control fetal growth.

Ultrasound between the 8th and 12th week of pregnancy

It detects if the fetus is alive, the number of fetuses and their gestational age.


  1. See the vitality of the embryo, at 6-6.5 weeks.
  2. Estimate the gestational age by measuring the cephalo-rump length (LCN), at 7.5-8 weeks.
  3. Observe if there are pathologies: ectopic pregnancy (misplaced), threatened abortion, complicated abortion, uterine malformations, fibroids, ovarian disorders.


  1. Look at the number of embryos or embryo sacs.
  2. See whether or not the embryo exists inside the sac.
  3. Measure the embryo to know the gestation age.
  4. Locate the trophoblast that will later be the placenta.
  5. Screening for malformations in the baby.
  6. Observe the maternal uterus and ovaries.

Ultrasound of week 8 of pregnancy

1. In an ultrasound at week 8 the embryo can already be seen how it moves
2. The embryo now measures approximately 15 millimeters.
3. The cord is easy to see.
4. The head has grown and new brain structures have appeared.
5. The now bigger heart this week will surely hear your heart beat clearer.
6. Your baby is already moving, although you will notice the movements from about week 16

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