Find out more about week 6 of pregnancy in our informative pregnancy week by week series. A mother’s size, the position of her uterus, the location of baby, and the accuracy of dating can all affect when a heartbeat is seen on an ultrasound.
Even with all the variables, it’s very likely you will see a heartbeat by 7 weeks and extremely likely by 8 weeks of pregnancy.
Many women don’t see their midwife or obstetrician until 8-10 weeks of pregnancy, and some health care providers prefer to wait until 13 weeks, when the first trimester is complete.
While an early ultrasound can often detect a heartbeat, it isn’t absolutely necessary in a pregnancy that is progressing properly.
This type of dating is based on averages, as many women ovulate about 14 days after the start of their last period, and expect a new period 14 days after ovulation.
However, it isn’t uncommon to be unable to detect a heartbeat via ultrasound until closer to 7 or 8 weeks.
If you haven’t had any signs of a miscarriage and are less than 8 weeks pregnant, it’s possible that you’ve simply had a scan too early.
If this occurs, your maternity care provider might recommend coming back in a few days or a week, to check again.
If there’s concern about when you actually conceived (e.g.
you’re still breastfeeding and haven’t had a regular cycle, or you were on birth control) a provider might want an early ultrasound in order to date your pregnancy.