Every pregnant woman is offered ultrasound scans during pregnancy. However, the number and timeline will be different for each woman. Your ultrasound schedule will depend on a few key factors, including:
- The progression and health of your pregnancy
- Your personal preferences
- Your chosen healthcare professional
- Whether you will be giving birth in a public or private hospital
- Your medical history
- Your health insurance policy
If you didn’t have an ultrasound last week, your nine week ultrasound will likely be scheduled to assess the gestational age of your baby. If you’re not sure when your last menstrual period (LMP) was, a scan at nine weeks will be able to confirm your approximate date of conception.
Your first ultrasound can be a very emotional experience so it’s a good idea to take along your partner or close family member for support.
The purpose of a 9 week ultrasound
Depending on your unique pregnancy, your chosen healthcare professional may schedule an earlier ultrasound at nine weeks for a few different reasons.
If this is your first ultrasound, it will give you the opportunity to accurately determine your due date. Especially if you haven’t tracked when your LMP was.
Knowing how far along you are in your pregnancy is important. At some point between 11 and 13 weeks your healthcare professional will suggest conducting a Nuchal Translucency (NT) scan. This scan tests for Down syndrome and for accurate results, you need to know how far along you are.
If you have miscarried a previous pregnancy or you have experienced some level of vaginal bleeding over the last nine weeks, you may also be offered an ultrasound. This scan can confirm whether your pregnancy is progressing healthily.
What to expect during your 9 week ultrasound
This ultrasound may be conducted vaginally or externally on your abdomen. Know that if your healthcare professional has officially referred you for an early scan Medicare will cover it.
At nine weeks, you will be able to see your baby’s head, body and limbs. You will also be able to hear your little one’s heart beat for the first time with a Doppler monitor. Bring some tissues with you; this can be a very emotional moment.
It’s also important to understand that miscarrying during the first three months of pregnancy is quite common.
If your ultrasound shows that your baby is growing slowly, or has a lower than average heartbeat your chances of miscarrying are high. If you have been experiencing pain or vaginal bleeding, you might be somewhat prepared for this news. However, no matter how prepared you think you may be, hearing your miscarriage suspicions confirmed is likely to be a distressing experience.
Your baby at 9 weeks
At nine weeks, your baby will measure approximately 2.5 centimetres. The foetus will resemble a green olive and weigh less than 2 grams.
Your little one’s eyes will have grown larger and even have some colour, but their eyelids will still be fused shut. Your ultrasound may be able to show you the beginnings of what will be your little one’s fingers and toes too.