An ultrasound examination is performed by a sonographer, obstetrician sonologist or radiologist. They are using a small, hand-held device called a transducer. The transducer receives the reflected sound waves back to the computer. The computer then makes a picture which shows on a screen of the ultrasound apparatus. Ultrasound pictures or videos may be saved as a permanent record. The examination itself may be trans-vaginal or trans-abdominal. Usually, the appointment with ultrasound is done with a trans-abdominal transducer, but the trans-vaginal approach will give a better picture. Ultrasound examination during 6th week reveals important information because a fetus is growing so quickly from week to week, and many changes occur during this time.
What Is Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound?
Trans-vaginal ultrasound is an examination of the female pelvis and urogenital tract. It helps to see if there is any abnormality in your womb, the neck of the womb, the lining of the womb, fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder and the pelvic cavity. In this case, you will empty your bladder before the examination, take off your clothes from the waist below and lie on an examination couch. You will bend your legs and the sonographer will insert the transducer into your vagina. The transducer is a little larger than a tampon and specially shaped to comfortably fit into a vagina. A condom is placed over the transducer and warm lubricating gel is applied to it so that the insertion goes smoother. The sonographer will slowly move the transducer around and the pictures will be taken.
What Is a Trans-Abdominal Ultrasound?
If you don’t want to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound, you can request a trans-abdominal ultrasound to be performed instead. In that case, a hand-held transducer is used. The abdomen is exposed and the water-based gel is applied to the skin. The transducer is moved softly across the abdomen doing a sliding and rotating movements so that the doctor can get the best image to see all the structures.
Trans-abdominal ultrasound examination needs preparation by means of a full bladder. It means that you have to drink two or three glasses of water one hour before the examination.
What’s Going on With Your Embryo?
At the 6th week of pregnancy, the embryo has 14 segments that will develop into skeletal muscles and vertebrae. The eyes start with development as well. The pharyngeal arches will develop into the head, jaw, and neck. The umbilical cord is starting to supply some nutrients to the developing placenta, but the yolk sac still provides most of the nourishment to the embryo. The blood vessels, that will later form the umbilical cord, are continuing to form and develop during this week. The beginnings of the digestive system are also forming, with the first cells of the stomach and intestines. The limbs begin to sprout. The baby’s heart has developed two ventricles and its heart is beating twice as fast as yours.
What Can You See on The Sonogram?
At this stage of development, the baby is measured from the crown to rump and it is 4-5 mm long. The embryo is growing about 1 mm every day. It means we can measure the size of the embryo and estimate its gestational age. If you are having trans-vaginal ultrasound examination, you can hear the heartbeat of the embryo.
You may even be able to see a tiny heart which is beating 90-110 times per minute. You should not worry if your doctor cannot distinguish a heartbeat at the 6th week of pregnancy. In such cases, another scan should be done within 3 to 7 days.
The limb buds are also visible. During the examination, your doctor can determine the location of the embryo and ascertain if it is in the correct place in the uterus. If the embryo gets implanted outside the uterus, usually in the Fallopian tube, this can be determined due to a blood flow patterns which are seen via ultrasound. Unusual features of the uterus, such as the shape or the presence of fibroids can possibly be seen, as well.
The fetal pole can be seen on the sonogram around the 6th week of pregnancy. It is the basic overall shape of the embryo. Looking at the fetal pole, a sonographer can determine the head and rump ends of the embryo and measure its size.
The gestational sac and yolk sac should be visible on the 6th-week ultrasound image, also.
This is how your baby looks like at the 6th week of its intrauterine life.
And this is what you will see on the ultrasound screen.