The commercially available pregnancy tests are very accurate and women can get a positive pregnancy test within 2 days of a missed period. Pregnancies are always dated from the first day of the last period.
By 5 weeks gestation a small black fluid filled sac can be seen on ultrasound of the womb and can confirm that the pregnancy is in the right location and not the Fallopian tube – an ectopic pregnancy.
By 6 weeks gestation a tiny beating fetal heart can often be seen and this suggests the fetus is alive or viable.
Would you like to have a scan?
Between 7 and 10 weeks gestation the fetus continues to grow and at 10 weeks one can identify a small head, body and limbs.
We divide pregnancies into 3 trimesters and 12 weeks is the end of the first trimester.
Miscarriages occur in 25% of normal pregnancies possibly due to chromosome problems. A miscarriage usually starts with a brown discharge which becomes redder and can be associated with abdominal cramps.
Bleeding in early pregnancy should be taken seriously. An ultrasound scan can confirm if the fetus is still alive and check the sac that it is growing inside.
A scan can confirm early fetal death – a missed miscarriage – so that appropriate action can be taken. A scan can also be reassuring in the face of bleeding and pain. In early pregnancy it can clarify that the fetus is surviving. This can be undertaken 2 weekly to monitor the growth and development of the fetus.
Blood tests that assess progesterone and Beta HCG, the rising pregnancy hormone, can also be used to monitor and predict the outcome of an early pregnancy.