7 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound: What to Know Before Your Appointment

7 weeks pregnant ultrasound image of embryo

Your first scan can be done as early as 7 weeks pregnant. Here’s what you need to know about this early pregnancy ultrasound.

Early pregnancy can be a mixed bag of emotions. And you may have a lot of questions about what comes next in these early weeks of pregnancy. Ultrasounds play a vital role in helping you and your healthcare team determine pregnancy viability and how far along you really are.

Learning as much as you can about your first pregnancy ultrasound can help you feel more confident at your prenatal ultrasound appointment and prepare questions for your follow-up appointment with your practitioner.
Read on to discover:

  • Why you may get an ultrasound at 7 weeks pregnant
  • What to expect and questions to ask at your appointment
  • The details you’ll be able to see on the ultrasound monitor
  • How to share and understand those first ultrasound images

7 reasons to get an ultrasound at 7 weeks pregnant

At 7 weeks, an ultrasound can tell your practitioner key information about how your baby is growing and how your body is responding. This is also the first chance you’ll have to see an image of the tiny embryo growing inside you. The embryo will not be classified as a fetus until after week 8, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Your practitioner will send you for an early pregnancy ultrasound to:

  1. Verify a heartbeat for the first time
  2. Confirm gestational age or weeks of gestation to determine due date
  3. Measure the size (i.e., crown rump length) of the embryo
  4. Check if more than one embryo is present
  5. Identify the cause of any vaginal bleeding
  6. Examine your ovaries, cervix and uterus
  7. Ensure your pregnancy is intrauterine, meaning embedded in the uterus

This ultrasound will also provide your practitioner with important information about pregnancy complications like ectopic or molar pregnancies. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the embryo develops outside the uterus and in the case of a molar pregnancy, groups of cells form but do not develop into a fetus.

What to expect at a 7 weeks pregnant ultrasound

During an ultrasound, a sonographer or trained technician uses a hand-held device called a transducer. The transducer creates sound waves (too quiet for human ears to hear) that travel painlessly through your body to your baby. An ultrasound machine then detects the sound waves and uses them to create an image of your baby’s exact position and shape.

Ultrasounds are safe when performed by a trained sonographer, specialized practitioner, or ultrasound technician, according to Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Unlike X-rays, ultrasounds don’t use radiation to capture images.

Is a 7 week scan internal or external?

There are two types of prenatal ultrasounds: transabdominal (external) and transvaginal (internal). At a 7 weeks ultrasound, you will most likely receive a transvaginal ultrasound.

During a transvaginal ultrasound, a sonographer will place a wand-shaped transducer inside your vagina to capture more detailed images of different parts of your baby and your womb and cervix. Transvaginal ultrasounds are more effective at the early stages of pregnancy because the embryo is so small that the transducer can capture more details inside the vaginal canal than outside the abdomen.

How to prepare for your appointment

Pregnancy ultrasounds require some preparation. You can make sure you’re ready for your early pregnancy transvaginal ultrasound by:

  • Bringing a copy of your requisition. Depending on where you are getting your ultrasound scan done and whether you or your family doctor’s office booked the appointment, you may need to bring a copy of the requisition form provided by your practitioner.
  • Booking your appointment when your baby is more active. This allows the ultrasound to capture as many images as possible. Drinking a cold sugary beverage right before your appointment can also help make your baby more active.
  • Arriving with a full bladder. Soundwaves travel more easily through liquid, so a full bladder helps your sonographer capture the best image possible of your baby.
  • Drinking lots of water in the week leading up to your ultrasound. Staying well hydrated helps keep amniotic fluid clear, allowing for better images.
  • Wearing loose and comfortable clothing. Make sure that whatever you wear is easy to take off and put on.
  • Having someone who can support you during the appointment. Be sure to check ahead with the imaging clinic or hospital for guidance because not all facilities allow support persons to attend.

What can you see on an ultrasound at 7 weeks pregnant?

Your 7 weeks ultrasound will give your practitioner a lot of information about how your embryo is developing and how your body is adjusting to pregnancy. At this stage, the embryo is roughly one third of an inch (10 mm) long. During your ultrasound, you’ll be able to see the following:

  • Gestational sac: Appearing as a dark circle surrounding the embryo, the gestational sac contains fluid and is first visible between 4.5 and 5 weeks.
  • Yolk sac: A nutritional sac that gives the embryo the nutrition it needs to keep growing. The yolk sac is visible starting around 5.5 weeks but is then absorbed by the fetus by the end of the first trimester.
  • Embryo: Also called a fetal pole, this is the first stage of your baby’s growth visible on an ultrasound.
  • Amniotic sac: A thin-walled sac of fluid surrounding the embryo, protecting it and allowing movement.
Labeled diagram of a pregnancy ultrasound image at 7 weeks

Ultrasound image at 7 weeks pregnant

Since your baby is still in the embryo stage, you won’t be able to see facial features, arms and legs or fingers and toes just yet. Your sonographer also won’t be able to discern the sex of your baby until your 18-20 week anatomy scan or later in your first trimester if you’ve opted for additional screening.

Can you see a heartbeat at 7 weeks pregnant on an ultrasound?

If your baby is in a good position for viewing, you may be able to catch a glimpse of your baby’s tiny heart beating. You may even hear a sound you’ve been waiting for: your baby’s heartbeat.

Between 6 and 7 weeks, it’s possible to hear the early electronic flutters of your baby’s heart, which beats at a rate of 90-110 beats per minute—much faster than an adult heart rate! Your ultrasound technician will be able to measure these beats on the monitor at your appointment.

Questions to ask during and after your ultrasound appointment

If you’re worried about your ultrasound appointment, asking your practitioner or sonographer questions in advance can help you feel more prepared. Keep in mind that you can discuss your early pregnancy ultrasound results with your practitioner, but your sonographer cannot legally answer questions about your baby or your health during the appointment.

Questions to ask during your ultrasound appointment:

  • Can I take my own photos and videos during the appointment?
  • How do you share my images/results?
  • How long is the appointment?
  • How many people can join me?

Your 7 weeks ultrasound gives your practitioner important information about how your new baby is growing and how your body is responding to pregnancy. At your follow-up appointment you can ask your practitioner:

  • What is the estimated date of conception and due date?
  • What is the fetal heart rate and what is considered a strong heartbeat at 7 weeks?
  • What is the size or crown rump length of the embryo?
  • Did the ultrasound show anything I should be aware of?
  • What are the signs of a healthy pregnancy at 7 weeks?
  • When is my next ultrasound? Is there any additional testing to consider, like nuchal translucency screening or chorionic villus sampling?
  • Are there any additional follow-ups you would recommend based on this ultrasound?

How quickly can you get your 7 weeks pregnant ultrasound pictures and report?

We’ve heard that many patients want to see their 7 week ultrasound images and report as quickly as possible. With PocketHealth, you can quickly and easily access and share your pregnancy ultrasound images and report—often before seeing your practitioner for a follow-up. Access your records here.

PocketHealth also enables you to securely access, share and store your imaging and other health information all in one place. And it’s easy to share images with family and friends, so they can see how your baby grows over time.

If you need clarity on the terms in your ultrasound report, PocketHealth Report Reader is there to help. Report Reader makes it easier to understand certain terms so you feel more prepared when speaking to your pregnancy care practitioner.

Feel confident throughout your pregnancy journey

Your first ultrasound is a major milestone in confirming your pregnancy! The more knowledge you can gain ahead of each ultrasound appointment, the more empowered you’ll feel to ask questions that can help you better understand your ultrasound images and reports.

How PocketHealth works

Learn more about how to use PocketHealth to access and share your pregnancy ultrasound records.

Access My Records