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Hertility x LPC partnership

Minimalist flat design illustration of fertility and pregnancy ultrasound partnership between specialists London Pregnancy Clinic and Hertility.

Hertility x LPC partnership:

Bringing Fertility and pregnancy ultrasound support for women

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Discover the transformative partnership between Hertility and London Pregnancy Clinic, revolutionising the way you access fertility and pregnancy ultrasound services. From early pregnancy to specialised scans, our collaboration ensures you receive world-class care without the wait, at a price you can afford.

In an exciting development for expectant mothers and those on their fertility journey, Hertility has partnered with us, London Pregnancy Clinic (LPC), transforming access to reproductive healthcare. Understanding the emotional toll of waiting for your first pregnancy scan, we’ve come together to offer you world-class scanning facilities, ensuring early reassurance through ultrasound without the long wait. It promises to bridge the gap between fertility understanding and pregnancy care, offering an integrated approach to women’s health that is both convenient and comprehensive. Both fertility and pregnancy ultrasound are very important and we are going to unpack what we can offer.

Who is Hertility?

In 2020, Hertility was conceived with a distinct vision by Dr. Helen O’Neill, Dr. Natalie Getreu, and Deirdre O’Neill. It sprang from a realisation that women’s health complexities were often overlooked, with conditions remaining enigmatic within the healthcare system. Hertility emerged as a beacon, championing the cause of bringing reproductive science into the hands of women globally.

Tired of the gaps in women’s healthcare, Hertility was born out of necessity. It became clear that the data underpinning women’s health was not only insufficient but also largely based on male physiology, leading to a paradigm shift in approach. Dr. O’Neill, through her fifteen years in academia, recognised the urgency for tailored datasets that reflect the true nature of female health concerns. Hertility is not just a company; it’s a movement towards empowering women with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their health and life choices.

Why was Hertility Created?

The inception of Hertility was motivated by the profound desire to address the elephant in the womb – the inherent complexities of female reproductive health. With a staggering 60% of women grappling with hormone and gynae issues and the diagnosis of fertility disorders stretching up to eight years, Hertility’s founders saw the dire need for change. By empowering women with accessible, research-led health assessments, Hertility is breaking barriers and shining a light on the path to understanding and managing women’s health effectively.

Hertility’s resolve to be research-led has set a new standard in women’s healthcare. It stands firmly on the foundation of clinical trials and extensive data collection, ensuring every insight provided is robust and actionable. Hertility’s comprehensive at-home hormone and fertility tests are more than just diagnostics; they are a clarion call to acknowledge and act on women’s reproductive health needs. The company’s commitment to sharing their findings reflects their ethos of transparency and education, making Hertility a true vanguard in the realm of women’s health.

Why Hertility and LPC?

Hertility is at the forefront of women’s health, offering at-home hormone and fertility test kits designed to empower women with knowledge about their reproductive health. Their comprehensive approach evaluates various factors, including hormonal balance, ovarian reserve, and potential reproductive health conditions, to provide actionable insights.

Understanding the importance of seamless care, Hertility’s partnership with LPC is a natural progression. LPC’s reputation for excellence in fertility and pregnancy ultrasound complements Hertility’s mission, providing a continuum of care that supports women from fertility assessment through to pregnancy. From fertility screening to anomaly scan we provide a large variety of services for women from our London clinic.

  • Fertility and pregnancy ultrasound services at  London Pregnancy Clinic - Viability scan

    Viability scan 3D image

  • Image showing what would an ultrasound show at 6 weeks of pregnancy. You can see the fetal pole, gestational sac and yolk sac. It shows an Ultrasound image by London Pregnancy Clinic that shows the gestational sac and how small it is - for educational purpose.

    You can see the fetal pole, gestational sac and yolk sac at week 6.

Fertility and pregnancy ultrasound

  • Early Pregnancy Scans: Available from 6 weeks, these scans offer early reassurance, confirming the presence of a gestational sac and fetal heartbeat. The first scan we offer is called the viability scan (or the 6-week scan).
  • HyCoSy Scans: For those investigating fertility concerns, HyCoSy scans assess tubal patency, crucial for understanding potential fertility issues.
  • General, Anomaly, and Early Fetal Scans: A comprehensive range of scans ensures that every aspect of your pregnancy is monitored, from general health checks to detailed anomaly scans. We specialise in NIPT and 10 Week Scan, which is our signature early pregnancy scan.

All scans at LPC are conducted by consultant-level doctors or specialist sonographers in fetal medicine, gynaecology, and fertility. Overseen by Dr Fred Ushakov, a renowned specialist in fetal medicine and obstetrical ultrasound, our team guarantees the highest standard of care.

Why Wait? Early Scans Available from 6 Weeks

The first few weeks of pregnancy are a profound journey filled with anticipation and, sometimes, anxiety. Traditionally, expecting mothers wait until the 11 to 14-week mark for their first scan, a period filled with unanswered questions and needless worries. Recognising the importance of early reassurance, LPC opens its doors to Hertility customers for pregnancy scans starting as early as 6 weeks. Our goal? To provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your pregnancy is progressing as expected, as soon as possible.

If you’re navigating the journey of fertility and pregnancy, let Hertility and LPC guide you to a path of informed, supported, and comprehensive care. You can check out our fertility and pregnancy ultrasound services!

Final thoughts

Hertility’s partnership with the London Pregnancy Clinic marks a defining moment in women’s health. With Hertility’s research-driven methodology and our fertility and pregnancy ultrasound services, we hope to provide a holistic approach for all women. Our combined effort provides an answer to the calls for early and accessible pregnancy scans, ensuring that expectant mothers receive the support and assurance they need, precisely when they need it. This collaboration goes beyond convenience; it is a powerful statement that women’s health deserves prioritisation and respect.

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Week 8 of Pregnancy

Graphic of Week 8 of pregnancy. An illustration of a baby at week 8 in the gestational sac.

Week 8 of your Pregnancy

Discovering your baby’s progress since week 7

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Embark on the captivating journey from Week 7 to Week 8 of your pregnancy with the London Pregnancy Clinic. Witness the awe-inspiring progress of your baby’s development with our private early pregnancy scans. Week 8 is a milestone where your baby begins to move and grow at an astonishing rate, from tiny limb movements to the development of internal organs. Embrace the changes and find reassurance in observing your baby’s advancement.

As you step into Week 8 of your pregnancy, you’re entering a crucial phase of development. Your baby, now rapidly evolving, is preparing for the next significant steps in prenatal growth. At London Pregnancy Clinic, we share in your excitement and curiosity during this time. This week is often when expectant mothers, seek reassurance and connection to their growing baby through our private early pregnancy scans.

Key Concepts: fetal development

Movement and Growth: By Week 8, your baby, now the size of a raspberry (around 15mm), begins to move, although you might not feel it yet. These early movements are a sign of muscle development and coordination. The ultrasound may capture some of these movements, providing a heartwarming glimpse for expectant parents.

Organ and Brain Development: Major organs, muscles, and nerves start functioning, with the brain forming primitive connections between nerve cells, laying down the first neural pathways. This week also allows us to measure brain waves for the first time, a testament to the burgeoning complexity of your baby’s development.

Physical Features: The facial features of your baby become more defined, with the formation of the upper lip, the tip of the nose, and the eyelids. The limbs extend, and fingers and toes start to emerge from their webbed structure, marking a significant step towards their final shape.

Pregnancy Checklist at 8 Weeks

  • Book and attend your private early pregnancy scan: Capturing clear images during the 6-9 week Viability Scan is crucial for assessing your baby’s development and health. These dating Scans are pivotal, offering crystal-clear imagery that plays a crucial role in monitoring your baby’s development and ensuring their health. Beyond the clinical benefits, these scans foster a profound emotional bond, providing expectant parents with a reassuring glimpse into their baby’s growth and vitality. Our transvaginal scans employ advanced 4D ultrasound technology, enabling us to capture high-resolution images of your baby’s earliest movements, bringing you closer to the miracle of life unfolding within you.
  • Focus on your health and wellness: Your baby’s development relies on your well-being. Ensure you maintain a balanced diet, get regular, gentle exercise, and follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
  • Communication with healthcare professionals: Maintaining open and consistent communication with your healthcare professionals is paramount during this transformative period. Whether navigating the physical changes sweeping through your body or adjusting to the hormonal shifts, having a trusted medical advisor by your side can make all the difference. They are your primary source of support, guidance, and reassurance, dedicated to ensuring your pregnancy journey is as smooth and informed as possible.
  • Booking Appointment: If you haven’t yet scheduled your first antenatal appointment, now is the time to consider this essential step. The NHS offers comprehensive antenatal care starting with the booking appointment, which is a cornerstone of your prenatal care. Alternatively, our private midwife services at London Pregnancy Clinic provide a personalised care experience, ensuring you receive tailored advice and support that resonates with your unique pregnancy needs. This initial consultation is an invaluable opportunity to ask questions, express concerns, and set the foundation for a healthy pregnancy.

Developmental Milestones: Week 8

Embryonic Growth: The rapid growth, your little one measures approximately 15 to 20 mm in length, also known as the crown to rump or CRL. The embryonic form transforms, with fingers and toes delineating further, shedding their webbed guise for a more distinct appearance. 

Gestational and Yolk Sac Development: At 8 weeks the gestational sac typically ranges from 27 to 33 mm. The yolk sac is about 3.3 mm. The nurturing environment of your baby, the gestational sac, demonstrates healthy growth, enveloping your baby in a protective embrace. The yolk sac, though still visible, will soon pass the baton to the placenta, becoming the primary source of nourishment for your developing baby.

Heart Development: Fetal heart rate slightly increases to an average of 140-170 beats per minute (BPM) and will gradually stabilise around 12 weeks.

Other Development: By the week’s close, the blueprint for all essential organs and body systems is firmly laid out. The foundations for your baby’s gender are being set, though the grand revelation remains a few weeks away (too soon to see on ultrasound). Meanwhile, the eyes begin their journey with the retinas starting to form.

Umbilical cord: Formed by week 7, this vital cord acts as a highway, connecting your baby to the placenta. It facilitates a critical exchange: oxygen and nutrients flow in via the umbilical vein, while waste products exit through the umbilical arteries. At this stage, the cord measures approximately 50-60cm, possibly exhibiting up to 40 helical turns for added strength and flexibility.

What is seen on the Ultrasound: Week 8?

The heartbeat is now stronger and more rhythmic, it serves as a profound indicator of your baby’s health and vitality. For expectant parents of twins, this week may unveil the presence of two heartbeats, doubling the joy and anticipation. The ultrasound meticulously charts the development of each embryo, ensuring both are progressing beautifully on their journey.

A subtle opening in the baby’s head marks the space where the brain will continue to grow and flourish. Far from alarming, this natural process is a testament to the body’s remarkable capacity to adapt and prepare for the months ahead. The ultrasound captures this phase with care, offering a glimpse into the brain’s early stages of development in a way that’s both reassuring and awe-inspiring. 

Another fascinating aspect of this scan is the appearance of two parallel lines, a preliminary indication of the fetal spine’s formation. This early sign of structural development underscores the incredible precision with which life unfolds. Both the umbilical cord and amniotic sac, vital to your baby’s development, will be seen during the scan. The umbilical cord, a lifeline to nourishment and oxygen, and the amniotic sac, a protective cocoon, are both visible. Together, they create an environment where your baby can grow, move, and thrive – which you may witness during the scan.

To ensure the most accurate observation, we may utilise transvaginal ultrasounds during these early stages. This method allows us to obtain high-resolution images and a clearer view of your baby’s early movements, compared to the traditional abdominal ultrasound. All pregnancies are unique but what happens during the ultrasound scan is similar for everyone.

  • Image showing what would an ultrasound show at 7 weeks of pregnancy. It shows an Ultrasound image by London Pregnancy Clinic that shows the gestational sac, fetal pole and yolk sac - for educational purpose.

    Gestational sac, fetal pole and yolk sac at 7 weeks of pregnancy as seen on ultrasound scan.

  • Image showing what would an ultrasound show at 8 weeks of pregnancy. It shows an Ultrasound image by London Pregnancy Clinic that shows the gestational sac, fetal pole, amniotic sac and yolk sac - for educational purpose.

    Gestational sac, fetal pole and amniotic sac at 8 weeks of pregnancy as seen on ultrasound scan.

Thinking ahead: Week 9?

Looking forward to Week 9, anticipate witnessing continued growth and development during your next scan. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and prepare for your upcoming prenatal appointments. Consider discussing prenatal screening options (like NIPT, which we offer complimentary counselling for during our Viability Scan) and dietary adjustments with your healthcare provider to support this vital growth phase.

Morning sickness may persist during Week 8, but it’s a common and typically harmless part of pregnancy. It’s often a result of hormonal changes and is expected to improve as you approach the second trimester. For severe cases, seek professional advice for management strategies.

Week 8 of Pregnancy FAQs


  • 8 week pregnancy is how many months?

    At 8 weeks pregnant, you’re right around 2 months along, though doctors usually track pregnancy progress by week for more precise development details. This means you have roughly 7 months until your amazing arrival! Remember, this is just an estimate, and your little one might choose to come a bit earlier or later. Exciting times ahead!

  • what’s happening during week 8 of pregnancy?

    At 8 weeks pregnant, your little one is making incredible progress! Here’s the summary:

    • Grows rapidly to 15-20mm (crown-to-rump).
    • Fingers and toes become more distinct, losing their webbed appearance.
    • Heart rate increases to 140-170 BPM and will stabilize soon.
    • Blueprint for all organs and body systems is established.
    • Gender starts to develop, but still too early to reveal on ultrasound.
    • Eyes begin to form with developing retinas.
    • Gestational sac grows to 27-33mm, protecting the baby.
    • Yolk sac still visible but becoming less important as the placenta takes over as the main source of nourishment.
    • Umbilical cord (formed in week 7) transports oxygen and nutrients to the baby and removes waste. It’s about 50-60cm long and might have twists for stability.
  • week 8 of pregnancy and no morning sickness?

    At 8 weeks pregnant, you might be surprised to be experiencing no morning sickness, especially if it’s a common concern among expectant parents. Rest assured, the absence of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy does not necessarily indicate any underlying issues.

    Here’s what you need to know:

    • Individual Response: The experience of pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness varies greatly among individuals. While it affects 70-80% of pregnant people, the remaining 20-30% may report minimal to no symptoms.
    • Fluctuating Symptoms: Even within the same individual, symptom intensity can fluctuate throughout pregnancy. While you might feel good now, mild nausea could still develop later.
    • Spectrum of Severity: “Morning sickness” encompasses a range of experiences, from occasional mild nausea to frequent vomiting. You might be falling on the less intense end of the spectrum.

    Therefore, the absence of morning sickness at 8 weeks is not a cause for concern. However, if you have any questions or worries about your pregnancy, or experience other concerning symptoms, always consult your healthcare provider for personalised guidance and reassurance.

  • Common symptoms during eight weeks pregnant

    Feeling the early flutters? Here’s what to expect at 8 weeks:

    • Fatigue: Your body’s working overtime, so exhaustion is common. Prioritise rest and listen to your needs.
    • Frequent urination: The growing uterus puts pressure on your bladder, leading to more bathroom trips.
    • Morning sickness (and maybe not just in the mornings): Nausea, vomiting, and food aversions are a rollercoaster for many. Stay hydrated and find remedies that work for you.
    • A symphony of sensations: From metallic tastes to heightened smells, your senses might be on overdrive. Embrace the unique experience!
    • Mood swings: The hormonal dance can stir up emotions. Be kind to yourself and seek support if needed.
    • Sore breasts: This is all thanks to hormonal changes preparing for milk production.
    • Bloating and cramping: Your uterus is expanding, which can cause these temporary discomforts.
    • Light spotting: While uncommon, it can happen. If concerned, consult your doctor.
    • Other changes: You might notice thicker hair, skin pigmentation changes, or a milky discharge – all normal pregnancy variations.

    Every pregnancy is unique. Some women experience all these symptoms, while others have none. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider.

    Note: The information provided in this blog is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

  • I am bleeding when I’m 8 weeks pregnant – what do i do?

    Bleeding during pregnancy, even at 8 weeks, requires immediate medical attention. While occasional light spotting can be harmless, it’s crucial to seek professional guidance right away, as bleeding can also be a sign of a more serious issue. Early pregnancy can experience bleeding due to various factors, including implantation, cervical changes, miscarriage, or ectopic pregnancy.

    To ensure the well-being of both you and your baby, contact your midwife or GP without delay, especially if the bleeding is persistent or accompanied by symptoms like severe pain or dizziness. They may conduct an examination, ultrasound, or blood tests to determine the cause and provide appropriate care.

    Remember, prioritising your health and seeking prompt medical attention is vital when experiencing any unexpected bleeding during pregnancy.

    Note: This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider for any questions or concerns you may have regarding your pregnancy, especially if you experience any bleeding.

  • 8 weeks pregnant. Twins?

    At 8 weeks, twin miracles are developing! Their tiny bodies, about 15m cm long and 1 gram each, showcase rapid progress. Limbs and kidneys form and human features become distinct. Beating hearts, now divided into chambers, race at 150 BPM.

    Ultrasound magic at 8 weeks might reveal twin gestational sacs, fetal poles, and even fluttering heartbeats, confirming your double joy. However, it’s vital to be aware of vanishing twin syndrome, where one twin stops developing in early pregnancy. While symptoms like morning sickness and fatigue could be more intense with twins, discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider. They can guide you through this unique pregnancy journey and ensure optimal care for you and your remaining little miracle.

  • Week 8 pregnancy bump…

    At 8 weeks pregnant, don’t expect a visible bump just yet! Your little one is still tiny! While you might feel bloated or have slightly swollen breasts due to hormonal changes, a true baby bump typically appears closer to 12-16 weeks, when your uterus grows enough to peek out of your pelvis.

    Here’s what’s happening instead:

    • Rapid internal growth: Your baby is forming all their essential organs and systems at lightning speed!
    • Uterine expansion: Your uterus starts expanding to make room for your growing baby, but it’s still tucked inside your pelvis.
    • Bloating: Bloating and gas due to hormonal changes are common early pregnancy symptoms, causing a temporary “puffy” feeling.

    So, relax and enjoy this early stage of pregnancy! Remember, every woman’s body experiences pregnancy differently, and a visible bump can appear earlier or later depending on various factors.

  • NIPT? what’s that?

    Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is a groundbreaking screening tool offering peace of mind during pregnancy. This simple blood test examines cell-free fetal DNA in your blood to assess the risk of specific chromosomal abnormalities in your baby:

    Down’s syndrome (Trisomy 21): Detected with >99% accuracy.
    Edward’s syndrome (Trisomy 18): Detected with 97.4% accuracy.
    Patau’s syndrome (Trisomy 13): Detected with 93.8% accuracy.

    These figures represent detection rates reported by Harmony NIPT. Additionally, NIPT boasts a remarkable <0.1% false positive rate for all three trisomies, calculated at a 1/100 risk cutoff.

    And there’s more! NIPT can also determine your baby’s sex with >99% accuracy, offering an early glimpse into your growing family.

    Key benefits of NIPT:

    • Non-invasive: No needles or risks to your baby.
      Highly accurate: Provides valuable information about your baby’s health.
    • Early detection: Offers time for informed decision-making if needed.
    • Optional sex determination: Satisfies your curiosity early on.

    Remember: NIPT is a screening test, not a definitive diagnosis. Consult your healthcare provider for further information and personalised guidance. We at LPC offer multiple NIPTs (PrenatalSafe, Panorama, Unity, SMART TEST, Illumina, Harmony) and out specialists will help you choose the best option for you!


Conclusion

At Week 8, while some challenges may arise, such as the potential for hyperemesis gravidarum or the need for reassurance regarding pregnancy progression, London Pregnancy Clinic is here to support you. Our expertise and advanced scanning technology provide the care and answers you need during this transformative time.

Stay tuned for more updates as you progress through this incredible journey, and remember, our team is always here to support you every step of the way.


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What is Intrauterine Pregnancy?

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What is Intrauterine Pregnancy?

Understanding intrauterine pregnancy stages ensures a healthy start.

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Today we will explore intrauterine pregnancy. It explores key stages, highlights early signs, and explains how to differentiate from ectopic pregnancies. It also tackles complex cases like IPUV and emphasises the importance of early prenatal care. With expert care and diagnostics, the London Pregnancy Clinic supports mothers throughout this life-changing journey. 

Intrauterine pregnancy marks the beginning of an incredible journey, not just for the embryo that grows and develops within the uterus but also for expectant mothers who embark on a nine-month journey filled with anticipation, joy, and care. For many, understanding the nuances of intrauterine pregnancy offers reassurance and clarity about the changes their bodies undergo and the milestones their future child achieves even before birth.

What is intrauterine pregnancy?

An intrauterine pregnancy (IUP) occurs when a fertilised egg successfully travels down the fallopian tube, implants in the uterine lining, and develops into an embryo, fetus, and eventually a baby. This natural process is the foundation of a normal 3 trimester pregnancy journey. 

First Trimester: It is crucial, as it sets the foundation for the baby’s development. It’s when the heart begins to beat, and the basic structures of the body start forming. Understanding the significance of early prenatal care during this stage is vital for expectant mothers to support their baby’s health.

Second Trimester: As the pregnancy progresses into the second trimester, mothers can feel their baby’s first movements—a magical moment for many. This period focuses on the baby’s growth, with vital organs continuing to develop and facial features becoming more distinct.

Third Trimester: The final stretch of the intrauterine journey involves the baby gaining weight and the body preparing for delivery. It’s a time for mothers to focus on nutrition and self-care, ensuring they’re ready for the birthing process.

Signs and Symptoms of IUP

Recognising the early signs and symptoms of intrauterine pregnancy is crucial for expectant mothers. These include missed periods, tender breasts, fatigue, and mood changes. While these indicators do not guarantee the pregnancy’s location, they are the first clues that you might be embarking on the journey of motherhood. However, symptoms like abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain, and cramping on one side may indicate an ectopic pregnancy, necessitating prompt medical evaluation.

While early pregnancy symptoms are similar regardless of the pregnancy’s location, certain developments confirmed via ultrasound are specific to intrauterine pregnancies:

  • Visualisation of the Gestational Sac: A fluid-filled sac surrounding the embryo, visible via transvaginal ultrasound as early as 4 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Embryonic or Fetal Heartbeat: Detected by ultrasound, a heartbeat within the uterus confirms an intrauterine pregnancy, usually visible around 6 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Fetal Movement: Felt by the mother as the pregnancy progresses, typically starting between 18 to 22 weeks for first-time mothers. However, some mothers may not recognise these initial flutters or any other pregnancy symptoms during this period, leading to a phenomenon known as cryptic pregnancy. In cryptic pregnancies, the signs of being pregnant remain unnoticed until the later stages, often until the baby’s movements become unmistakably strong or other more overt pregnancy symptoms emerge. This can result in a delayed awareness of pregnancy, making early prenatal care and emotional preparation more challenging.

Please note that this response does not constitute medical advice. If you have concerns or questions about pregnancy, consult a qualified healthcare professional.

Intrauterine pregnancy of uncertain viability (IPUV)

Understanding the early stages of pregnancy is vital for expectant mothers. When diagnosed with an early intrauterine pregnancy, it means that a pregnancy sac is present in the womb. However, it might be too soon to visualise the baby or detect a heartbeat. This stage can also be described as a “pregnancy of uncertain viability” (IPUV), highlighting the period of anticipation and monitoring that follows.

Early Stage of Pregnancy: The pregnancy is simply at its beginning phases, necessitating more time for growth to see the embryo and heartbeat. This scenario is more probable if there’s uncertainty about your menstrual dates, you experience irregular periods or have recently ceased using contraceptive measures. In these instances, the alignment between expected and actual pregnancy stages may not be precise, requiring patience and subsequent evaluations.

Potential Non-Progression: There’s a chance the pregnancy isn’t advancing as anticipated. This likelihood increases if you’re confident about your pregnancy dates, yet they don’t align with the observed size of the pregnancy sac. Additional indicators suggesting potential non-progression include experiencing vaginal bleeding or having a low progesterone level. In such cases, close monitoring and further diagnostic testing are essential to determine the pregnancy’s viability and appropriate next steps.

For expectant mothers facing an IPUV diagnosis, the uncertainty can be challenging. However, with compassionate care and comprehensive monitoring, many uncertainties can be resolved as the pregnancy progresses. Follow-up ultrasounds and blood tests play a pivotal role in clarifying the viability of the pregnancy, guiding both medical professionals and mothers-to-be in their journey towards a healthy pregnancy outcome.

Confirming pregnancy early is crucial

The detection of IPUV or ectopic pregnancy underscores the importance of early prenatal care. Early prenatal care is instrumental in monitoring the health of both the mother and the baby. Regular check-ups can detect any potential issues early on, providing a pathway for interventions if necessary. This proactive approach is key to managing a healthy pregnancy. Thus, identifying the pregnancy location early is crucial, especially to differentiate it from ectopic pregnancies and avoid misdiagnosis. You can do so in a few ways:

  • Urine Tests: Detect hCG typically one day after a missed period, with accuracy increasing over time.
  • Blood Tests: Measure levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG, detecting pregnancy as early as 6–8 days post-ovulation. Increasing levels of hCG can indicate that the pregnancy is progressing normally, while stagnant or decreasing levels may suggest complications.
  • Follow-up Ultrasound: An ultrasound can visualise a gestational sac around the embryo in the uterus, definitively confirming an intrauterine pregnancy. If an IPUV is diagnosed, expectant mothers will typically be scheduled for follow-up ultrasounds. These are crucial to assess the pregnancy’s progress. The timing of these follow-ups can vary but usually occurs within 1-2 weeks to allow sufficient time for any changes to be evident.
  • Patient Guidance: Healthcare providers will offer advice on what symptoms to watch for and when to seek immediate medical attention. This might include severe abdominal pain, increased vaginal bleeding, or any signs of infection.

Intrauterine Pregnancy FAQs


  • Is intrauterine pregnancy is good or bad?

    Intrauterine pregnancy is not only normal but also the optimal outcome for a successful pregnancy, where the fertilised egg implants and grows within the uterus. This condition is crucial for the fetus’s healthy development, representing a positive and expected part of a woman’s reproductive experience. While certain complications can affect fetal growth within the womb, these issues are distinct from the nature of intrauterine pregnancy itself.

  • Difference between intrauterine pregnancy and ectopic?

    The primary distinction between an intrauterine and an ectopic pregnancy centers on the location of implantation. In a healthy intrauterine pregnancy, the fertilized egg secures itself within the uterus, the optimal site for a fetus to grow and mature. Conversely, in an ectopic pregnancy, the egg implants outside the uterus, often in a fallopian tube, though it can also occur in the ovary, cervix, or abdominal cavity. This misplaced implantation can lead to severe health risks, including the potential for rupture and internal bleeding, as the fetus cannot properly develop in these locations, endangering the mother’s well-being.

  • Can intrauterine pregnancy survive?

    An intrauterine pregnancy, where the fertilised egg implants and grows within the uterus, represents the standard and healthiest form of pregnancy, crucial for the fetus’s healthy development. Unlike ectopic pregnancies, which occur outside the uterus and pose significant health risks, intrauterine pregnancies are both sustainable and desired. These pregnancies have the potential to proceed to full term, leading to the birth of a baby. Therefore, an intrauterine pregnancy is not only capable of surviving but is also the optimal scenario for both fetal development and maternal health.

  • What are the Early Stage Considerations for IPUV

    In cases where there’s uncertainty about menstrual dates or if a patient has irregular periods, the exact timing of early pregnancy events may not align with standard expectations. It’s also common for women who have recently stopped using contraceptive methods to experience variability in their cycle lengths, affecting the dating of the pregnancy.

    If the pregnancy is indeed at a very early stage, subsequent ultrasounds can provide reassurance as the embryo becomes visible and a heartbeat can be detected.


Conclusion

Understanding and early detection of intrauterine pregnancy are critical for ensuring the safety and health of both the mother and the developing baby. If you’re pregnant or planning to conceive, it’s essential to seek early prenatal care. Here at London Pregnancy Clinic, we offer comprehensive support and advanced diagnostic services to guide you through your pregnancy journey.

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Week 7 of Pregnancy

Graphic of Week 7 of pregnancy. An illustration of a baby at week 7 in the gestational sac.

Week 7 of your Pregnancy

Discovering your baby’s progress since week 6

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Embark on the transformative journey from Week 6 to Week 7 of your pregnancy with London Pregnancy Clinic. Experience the wonder of your baby’s growth with our private early pregnancy scans. Week 7 brings rapid development, from distinct heartbeats to the formation of facial features. Embrace the new changes and the reassurance of seeing your baby’s progress.

Stepping into Week 7 of your pregnancy, you’re embarking on a remarkable phase. Your baby, swiftly growing and developing, is now ready for the next stage of prenatal monitoring. At London Pregnancy Clinic, we understand the excitement and curiosity that comes with this week. It’s a time when many expectant mothers like Sarah and Emily seek reassurance through our private early pregnancy scans.

Key Concepts: fetal development

Baby’s Fast Heart Beat: During week 7, your baby’s heart rate accelerates, typically beating between 120 and 160 times per minute. This rapid heartbeat is a healthy sign of your baby’s growth and development. It’s an exhilarating moment for many parents, often heard for the first time during a viability scan.

Facial Features: By Week 7, your baby, roughly the size of a blueberry, shows significant development. The viability scan often reveals more distinct features and movements. The embryo’s facial features start taking shape, with the brain developing at a remarkable pace.

Rapid Development: 7 weeks marks the start of a huge growth spurt. During this period (between 7 and 20 weeks) your baby’s body parts will grow rapidly and organs such as the heart and brain will develop and increase in complexity. The basic structures of all major body parts and organs are formed during this time, with much of the growth being focused on the brain. Your baby’s brain cells are being generated at a rate of 100 per minute! The first blood vessels of the circulatory system appear. The appendix and pancreas are now evident, and inside the mouth, tooth buds, a tongue and the palate are all developing.

Pregnancy Checklist at 7 Weeks

  • Book your private early pregnancy scan: Clear 7-week scan images can provide valuable information about your baby’s development and well-being. Ultrasound scans, especially the Viability Scan, offer emotional moments for expectant parents, providing a tangible connection to their growing baby and reassurance about their well-being. Despite natural concerns or anxieties, these routine and safe procedures offer valuable insights into the baby’s development.
  • Monitor your health and well-being: As your baby continues to grow rapidly, take care of yourself by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating nutritious foods, and staying active as recommended by your healthcare provider.
  • Keep an eye on your nutrition: Keep focusing on foods supporting fetal development and ensuring you get essential vitamins and minerals.
  • You’re not alone, talk to professionals: During the early stages of pregnancy, it’s crucial to communicate with your healthcare provider as your hormones and body begin to change. They can offer guidance, support, and reassurance for any questions or concerns. Your provider has the expertise to address any issues or uncertainties that may arise, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them whenever needed.

Developmental Milestones: Week 7

Embryonic Growth: The embryo now measures between 9mm to 10mm long (from crown to rump – CRL) and is 10,000 times bigger than it was at conception. Your baby’s fingers and toes are now formed, although not separated, giving them a paddle-like appearance. The embryo shows flurries of rapid movements at this stage. The liver is now producing red blood cells, and will continue to do so until bone marrow is formed which then takes over the production of red blood cells.

Gestational and Yolk Sac Development: At 7 weeks the gestational sac typically ranges from 18 to 25 mm. The yolk sac is about 3 mm. Both continue to grow steadily. The yolk sac provides nutrients and aids in blood cell formation until the placenta takes over this role. In Week 7, the gestational and yolk sacs play a critical role in your baby’s development. The gestational sac envelops the embryo, but its presence doesn’t guarantee a normal, healthy pregnancy. An anembryonic pregnancy, or blighted ovum, may occur, where the gestational sac lacks an embryo. This can be caused by various factors. If they are significantly smaller, it may indicate a potential first-trimester pregnancy loss. Seek guidance from early pregnancy specialists and obstetric professionals for further evaluation and support.

Heart Development: Between weeks 6 and 7 of pregnancy, the baby’s heart rate speeds up, usually ranging between 120 and 160 beats per minute.

Baby Features Development: By the end of week 6, the ears are continuing to form while the eyes are now covered with the beginnings of what will later become eyelids. Now at week 7, your baby’s fingers and toes are formed, although not separated, giving them a paddle-like appearance. 

What is seen on the Ultrasound: Week 7?

As you enter Week 7 of your pregnancy, the ultrasound offers a more intricate view of your baby’s development, building upon the observations from Week 6. This scan is a window into a world of rapid growth and transformation taking place within you. During the 7-week ultrasound, expect to see enhanced and more distinct images. The heartbeat, which was a delicate flicker last week, is now more pronounced and rhythmic, beating confidently as a testament to your baby’s vitality. 

The gestational sac, your baby’s first nurturing environment, continues to grow, signifying healthy progression. Inside this protective sac, the yolk sac remains visible, providing essential nourishment. It’s a critical component until the placenta fully develops and takes over the role of supporting your baby.

The embryo itself is undergoing remarkable changes. Now resembling a tiny being with a more defined head and a tail-like structure, the embryo’s curved form is more noticeable. This is the period when major organs start forming. The healthcare provider may measure the embryo from head to tail, known as the CRL. Alongside, the size of the gestational sac is also measured, providing further information about the pregnancy’s progression.

This week’s ultrasound is pivotal for confirming the pregnancy’s viability, as it checks for the presence of a heartbeat and helps rule out any complications. Depending on the clarity needed, the ultrasound may be performed trans-abdominally or transvaginally, with the latter often providing a clearer view of these early developmental stages. Each pregnancy is unique, and these developmental milestones may vary slightly from one individual to another but what to expect during the ultrasound scan will remain the same.

  • Image showing what would an ultrasound show at 6 weeks of pregnancy. You can see the fetal pole, gestational sac and yolk sac. It shows an Ultrasound image by London Pregnancy Clinic that shows the gestational sac and how small it is - for educational purpose.

    Gestational sac, fetal pole and yolk sac at 6 weeks of pregnancy as seen on ultrasound scan.

  • Image showing what would an ultrasound show at 7 weeks of pregnancy. It shows an Ultrasound image by London Pregnancy Clinic that shows the gestational sac, fetal pole and yolk sac - for educational purpose.

    Gestational sac, fetal pole and yolk sac at 7 weeks of pregnancy as seen on ultrasound scan.

Thinking ahead: Week 8?

As you approach Week 8, expect further growth and development. Your next scan will provide more details about your baby’s progress. Keep following health guidelines and get ready for your next prenatal appointment. To support this critical growth phase, discuss upcoming screenings (we offer free counselling during our Viability Scan for NIPT) and nutritional adjustments with your healthcare provider. Approximately 75% of pregnant women experience morning sickness, which is a common symptom during week 7 of pregnancy. Rest assured, it’s a normal part of the journey. Despite its name, it can happen at any time of the day and is likely caused by hormonal changes and uterine muscle stretching. Nausea and vomiting usually improve between weeks 12 to 14 of pregnancy. Seek medical advice for severe morning sickness and remember, relief is on the way in a few weeks! Hang in there!

Conclusion

Week 7 of Pregnancy FAQs


  • How does 7 weeks pregnant look like?

    At 7 weeks pregnant, your tiny miracle experiences remarkable growth!

    • Baby development: This stage marks rapid progress. Your little one, roughly the size of a grape (around 9-10mm long), showcases significant development. The brain, crucial for future cognitive function, grows quickly, leading to a prominent forehead. Meanwhile, eyes and ears continue their formation, laying the groundwork for sight and hearing. Tiny limb buds, precursors to arms and legs, begin to transform into cartilage, the foundation for future bones. Nerve cells multiply rapidly, supporting your baby’s incredible growth spurt.
    • Maternal experiences: As your baby thrives, your body adapts. The womb expands to accommodate your growing miracle, reaching around the size of a lemon. Common symptoms like fatigue, tender breasts, frequent urination, and morning sickness might arise, though remember, that every pregnancy is unique, and your experiences may differ.

    Disclaimer: Remember, this information is for general knowledge only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalised guidance and to address any concerns you may have.

  • What to expect when 7 weeks pregnant?

    As your baby flourishes, you may notice personal changes as well:

    • Morning Sickness: A common symptom, though it doesn’t affect everyone.
    • Fatigue: It’s normal to feel unusually tired as your body nurtures your growing baby.
    • Sore Breasts: Hormonal changes may cause tenderness or swelling.
    • Food Preferences: You might find your taste preferences changing.
    • Enhanced Sense of Smell: Scents may become more intense.
    • Mood Fluctuations: Hormones can lead to emotional variability.

    Additional experiences some women report include:

    • Metallic Taste: An odd but temporary sensation.
    • Headaches: Ensure you’re well-hydrated and consult a doctor if headaches are frequent.
    • Light Spotting: While it may be alarming, it’s not always a sign of trouble. Seek advice from your healthcare provider for reassurance.
    • Cramps: These can resemble period pains but are generally less severe.

    Advice to Remember:

    • Stay Hydrated: Drinking water is crucial for your changing body.
    • Maintain a Healthy Diet: A balanced diet benefits both you and your baby.
    • Listen to Your Body: Rest as necessary and focus on self-care.
    • Seek Support: For any concerns, professional guidance from your healthcare provider is invaluable.

    Each pregnancy journey is distinct. Embrace this special time and the transformations it brings.

  • Can you feel movement seven weeks of pregnancy?

    At 7 weeks into pregnancy, feeling your baby’s movements is usually too soon. Typically, the initial signs of fetal movement, or quickening, are experienced between 13-25 weeks, with some noticing these sensations as early as 13-16 weeks. Initially described as a flutter, these movements can be subtle, often mistaken for gas or similar sensations. The timing of when these movements are felt can be influenced by various factors, including the placenta’s position, the volume of amniotic fluid, and the mother’s body mass index. However, at week 8 of pregnancy, the baby starts moving inside the womb and that can be seen during an ultrasound scan.

  • I am bleeding when I’m 7 weeks pregnant – what do i do?

    Prompt medical attention is crucial for bleeding at 7 weeks of pregnancy. Light spotting may not always be concerning, but professional consultation is essential to rule out serious conditions such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Immediately contact your midwife or GP, especially if accompanied by severe pain or dizziness, for assessment and appropriate care.

    Note: This is educational content and not medical advice. Consult your healthcare provider for any pregnancy-related concerns, especially bleeding.

  • I am having twins during my 7 weeks viability scan

    Discovering you’re expecting twins at your 7-week viability scan is a possibility, thanks to the precision of modern ultrasound technology. Particularly, a transvaginal ultrasound can effectively identify twins as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy. This type of scan can reveal the presence of multiple gestational and yolk sacs, fetal poles, and even distinct heartbeats, all indicative of a twin pregnancy. Notably, during the 7-9 week period, transvaginal ultrasounds are highly reliable for assessing the specifics of twin pregnancies, such as chorionicity and amnionicity.


Conclusion

Week 7 is a period of significant progress in your pregnancy. London Pregnancy Clinic is here to support you with expert care and detailed scans. Remember, every pregnancy is unique, so embrace your journey with confidence and excitement. Stay tuned for our next update as you continue this incredible journey.

Stay tuned on what your baby’s week-by-week growth will look like on our blog.


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What Is Cryptic Pregnancy?

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What Is Cryptic Pregnancy?

Understanding the Phenomenon of Silent Pregnancy

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Cryptic pregnancy is a fascinating phenomenon that has puzzled both medical professionals and expecting mothers alike. In this blog post, we will delve into hidden pregnancy, exploring its definition, signs and symptoms, causes, emotional impact, and more. Whether you’re an expecting mother or simply curious about pregnancy-related topics, join us on this enlightening journey.

It’s estimated that approximately 1 in 475 women will experience a cryptic pregnancy until 20 weeks of gestation. Hidden pregnancy is a condition where a woman remains unaware of her pregnancy until very late in the gestation period or even until delivery. While it sounds like something out of a movie, cryptic pregnancy is a real and relatively rare phenomenon. Despite its rarity, the impact on those who go through it can be significant.

What is Cryptic Pregnancy?

Cryptic pregnancy, also known as stealth pregnancy or denial of pregnancy, refers to a pregnancy that goes undetected by the woman herself and often by healthcare professionals as well. The reasons behind this lack of awareness vary, but it’s important to understand that it’s not a conscious decision to deny or ignore the pregnancy. It is characterised by irregular or absent menstrual periods, minimal or no pregnancy symptoms, and negative pregnancy tests.

Signs and Symptoms of Cryptic Pregnancy

One of the most intriguing aspects of cryptic pregnancy is the absence of typical pregnancy symptoms. While some women may experience certain symptoms such as weight gain, abdominal distension, or intermittent bleeding, many others will have no noticeable signs of pregnancy. The lack of these symptoms, combined with irregular menstrual cycles, can contribute to the confusion and disbelief surrounding this type of pregnancy.

Indicators to look out for

  • Missed period: While most individuals recognise pregnancy due to a missed period, this is not always the case. If your periods are irregular, you may not notice a missed period as a sign of pregnancy. However, people may experience spotting or light bleeding, which can be mistaken for a period.
  • Fetal movement: Most individuals do not feel the fetus move until about halfway through pregnancy, so around the middle of the second trimester. If you have an anterior placenta (located at the front of your belly), it may be more challenging to perceive kicks. In the case of cryptic pregnancy, this could be why you are unaware of being pregnant.
  • False negative pregnancy test result: This occurs when someone is actually pregnant, but the test indicates otherwise. If you do not use an at-home pregnancy test correctly, you may receive an inaccurate result. To be certain, it is always best to consult a healthcare provider to confirm pregnancy. Another way you can check whether you’re pregnant or not is by doing one of the pregnancy blood tests.
  • Weight gain or swollen belly: Some individuals may not realise they have gained weight due to pregnancy, or they may attribute an unusually bloated belly to a particular food.

Please note that this response does not constitute medical advice. If you have concerns or questions about pregnancy, consult a qualified healthcare professional.

Factors Contributing to Cryptic Pregnancy

Various factors, both physiological and psychological, can influence cryptic pregnancy. Hormonal imbalances or irregularities can disrupt the usual hormonal markers of pregnancy and lead to false-negative pregnancy tests. Certain medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or uterine abnormalities, can also affect the accuracy of pregnancy tests. Additionally, psychological factors, such as subconscious denial or a lack of awareness about pregnancy symptoms, can contribute to a woman’s unknowingness. 

Potential complications of a cryptic pregnancy?

Complications arising from a cryptic pregnancy stem from the lack of awareness about one’s condition. These complications may include:

  • Absence of prenatal care: Unaware of the pregnancy, individuals do not receive the necessary prenatal care, such as vital bloodwork, nutritional guidance, ultrasounds, and other essential support required for a healthy pregnancy. Furthermore, not knowing about the pregnancy could result in unassisted labour without the aid of skilled healthcare professionals.
  • Necessity for lifestyle adjustments: Smoking and consuming alcohol have detrimental effects on pregnancy. In the case of a cryptic pregnancy, individuals may unknowingly engage in these harmful practices or use medications and supplements that are generally unsafe for expectant mothers.
  • Elevated risk of medical conditions: Without proper care or diagnostic tests, conditions like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia may go undetected.
  • Heightened risk of congenital conditions: The fetus is at a higher risk of developing congenital conditions due to the lack of genetic tests, like NIPT, or other evaluations that aid in diagnosing the health of the baby.

It is crucial to highlight the potential risks associated with a hidden pregnancy to promote awareness and encourage individuals to seek appropriate medical support. This fact has been highlighted in studies saying that infants born from cryptic pregnancies are more likely to be born prematurely, placing them at risk of poor growth and respiratory issues.

Emotional Journey of Cryptic Pregnancy

The emotional journey of hidden pregnancy is complex and can vary greatly from woman to woman. Discovering that you are pregnant after an extended period of unknowingness can evoke a range of emotions, including shock, confusion, and even joy. It’s crucial for women experiencing cryptic pregnancy to seek emotional support from their partners, family, and healthcare professionals. Counselling and therapy can also be beneficial in navigating the emotional challenges that may arise.

Cryptic Pregnancy FAQs


  • Can stealth pregnancy be prevented?

    Cryptic pregnancy, also known as hidden pregnancy, cannot be prevented as it is often caused by physiological or psychological factors that are beyond an individual’s control.

  • Can cryptic pregnancy occur in women who have regular periods?

    Yes, cryptic pregnancy can occur in women with irregular or regular menstrual cycles. Irregular periods do not necessarily indicate cryptic pregnancy, and regular periods do not guarantee the absence of pregnancy.

    It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a gynaecologist, for accurate information and personalised insights into cryptic pregnancy.


Expert Opinion: For professional insights into the medical aspects of cryptic pregnancy, including causes, symptoms, and diagnosis, you can talk to our in-house gynaecologist Dr. Prashant Purohit. Alongside LPC, he is a Consultant in Obstetrics, Gynaecology, and Reproductive Medicine based at Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Kings Fertility, London. He specialises in the management of infertile couples, fertility preservation, fibroids, endometriosis, miscarriage, polycystic ovaries, menopause, menstrual bleeding disorders, and pelvic pain. His special interests include minimally invasive surgery like (key-hole) laparoscopic/ hysteroscopic surgery, Gynecological and early pregnancy ultrasound, and reproductive medicine.

Conclusion

Cryptic pregnancy is a unique and captivating phenomenon that challenges our understanding of pregnancy and the human body. While it may be rare, it’s important to acknowledge and support individuals who experience cryptic pregnancy, as their journey can be filled with confusion, uncertainty, and emotional complexity. By raising awareness and fostering understanding, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all women navigating the intricacies of pregnancy.

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Ultrasound Scans During Pregnancy

Minimalist flat design illustration of a very simple ultrasound room at the London Pregnancy Clinic - ultrasound Scans During Pregnancy.

Ultrasound scans during pregnancy

Discovering the importance of ultrasound scanning to demystify it.

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Unravel the mysteries of ultrasound scans during pregnancy. Understand their significance, what to expect, and their role in ensuring a healthy pregnancy. Experience the joy and reassurance that comes with seeing your baby’s first images.

Embarking on the journey of pregnancy is a thrilling yet complex adventure, filled with excitement, anticipation, and a myriad of questions. Among the most common queries we encounter at our clinic is the significance of ultrasound scans during this special time. Understanding the importance of these scans, often shrouded in mystery, can profoundly change perceptions, transforming them from just a clinical procedure into an invaluable and cherished part of the pregnancy experience. These scans can be done from week 6, as this is when we reach the first major developmental milestone.

The Role of Ultrasound in Pregnancy

Ultrasound scans, a window to your womb, offer a non-invasive peek at your developing baby. Ultrasound technology has revolutionised prenatal care since its inception. Initially utilised in the 1950s for gynaecological purposes, its application in monitoring fetal development during pregnancy was a groundbreaking discovery that has shaped modern obstetrics. The development of the first contact B-mode scanner opened a new window into the womb, allowing for the visualisation of the fetus and transforming prenatal care.

This innovation marked the beginning of using ultrasound to monitor the baby’s development, detect potential abnormalities, and even predict birth weight discordance in twin pregnancies. Today, ultrasound scans are a routine and indispensable part of prenatal care. Most women are offered at least two standard scans during their pregnancy. The first scan, usually conducted between 10 and 13 weeks, is crucial for confirming the due date and checking the baby’s heartbeat. The second scan, typically between 18 and 21 weeks, focuses on assessing the baby’s growth and anatomy in more detail.

What to Expect During an Ultrasound

Understanding what happens during an ultrasound can ease any apprehensions and make the experience more enjoyable. At London Pregnancy Clinic, we encourage patients to ask questions and see this as an opportunity to educate them about the wonders of ultrasound and pregnancy.

Procedure: You’ll recline on a comfortable bed in our serene scanning room. While ‘internal’ and ‘external’ aren’t official medical terms, they are commonly used to describe ultrasound methods. An internal scan, often a transvaginal ultrasound, involves a probe inserted into the vagina for detailed pelvic images. Whereas, the external scan is an abdominal ultrasound, where a transducer glides over the abdomen to visualise the baby and internal organs. Our specialists excel in both types of ultrasounds, providing thorough care and support throughout your pregnancy.

Scanning: While our specialists move the transducer, you may feel slight pressure, but it’s generally a painless process. Traditional 2D ultrasounds provide clear images of your baby’s structure, while advanced 3D and 4D technologies can offer more detailed views, such as facial features or specific organs.

Duration: A standard ultrasound typically lasts about 20 minutes. However, at London Pregnancy Clinic our scans, are more comprehensive and may take up to 45/60 minutes. Occasionally, obtaining clear ultrasound images can be challenging. Factors like the baby’s position, movement, body composition, or higher body weight might affect image clarity. However, this is usually no cause for concern. To enhance image quality, we might ask you to take a short walk. This can encourage the baby to shift position. 

Results: At LPC we use Tricefy to share the images and reports with you. It’s important to note that ultrasounds are safe, with no known risks to either the baby or the mother. However, they are an important diagnostic tool, providing valuable information for any potential medical decisions.

NHS Ultrasound Scans

In England, the NHS provides crucial ultrasound scans during pregnancy at key stages. Hospitals in England offer at least two ultrasound scans, conducted by fetal medicine practitioners, which include the following:

  • 12-Week Scan (Dating Scan): Offered between 11 and 14 weeks, this scan estimates your due date. It may include a nuchal translucency (NT) scan (this is an NHS scan not to be confused with our private Nuchal Scan), part of the combined screening test for Down’s syndrome (Trisomy 21). This screening includes a blood test and an ultrasound scan. The scan measures the fluid at the back of the baby’s neck, also known as nuchal translucency. However, unlike Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), it is not considered the most advanced and modern way to screen for Down’s and other chromosomal syndromes.
  • 20-Week Screening Scan (NHS Anomaly Scan): Conducted between 18 and 21 weeks, this scan, also known as the anomaly or mid-pregnancy scan, checks for 11 physical conditions in the baby. These include Spina Bifida, Anencephaly, Cleft Lip, Diaphragmatic Hernia, Exomphalos, Serious Cardiac Abnormalities, Bilateral Renal Agenesis, Lethal Skeletal Dysplasia, Edwards’ Syndrome (Trisomy 18), Patau’s Syndrome (Trisomy 13), and Acrania. 

LPC Ultrasound Scans

Following the essential scans offered by the NHS, the London Pregnancy Clinic presents a spectrum of specialised ultrasound scans for expectant mothers. While we endorse the significance of NHS scans, our clinic provides additional, detailed insights into your baby’s development. We are renowned for our proficiency in early anomaly detection but we offer an extensive scan list designed by Dr Fred Ushakov:

Our clinic’s dedication to fetal medicine is evident in our use of the latest imaging technologies, including 2D, 3D, and 4D scans. These technologies allow us to screen various aspects of your baby’s growth and development, providing reassurance and a deeper connection with your baby throughout your pregnancy journey.

Ultrasound scans during pregnancy FAQs


  • Difference between internal and external ultrasound scans

    Internal Scan (transvaginal scan) – involves inserting a specially designed probe into the vagina. Provides high-resolution images of the pelvic organs, including the uterus, ovaries, and in early pregnancy, the developing fetus. Commonly used in early pregnancy stages for clearer and more detailed images. In an abdominal ultrasound, a sonographer applies a water-soluble gel to your belly and uses a transducer to glide over the skin, sending sound waves that create images of the baby.

    External Scan (abdominal scan) – this method involves moving a transducer over the abdomen’s surface. It captures images of internal organs, including the developing baby, placenta, and uterus during pregnancy. Used throughout pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters, to monitor the baby’s growth and development. In a transvaginal ultrasound, a longer and thinner transducer is gently inserted into the vagina to get closer to the uterus, offering detailed images, especially in early pregnancy.

  • How many ultrasound scans can I have during pregnancy?

    During pregnancy, the number of ultrasound scans you can have varies:

    • NHS Scans: Standard NHS care includes two scans. These check the baby’s size, detect abnormalities, determine the due date, and monitor growth.

    • London Pregnancy Clinic Options: We offer additional scans for more comprehensive screening and reassurance:

      • Early Fetal Reassurance: Includes 2 early scans for early health screening.
      • NHS Complementing Scan: Features 3 scans alongside the standard NHS 12-week and 20-week scans.
      • Comprehensive Scan Package: Provides 6 scans, ideal for high-risk, IVF pregnancies, or those after a miscarriage.

    While you can theoretically have as many scans as you wish, it’s about balancing the benefits with your time and energy. Our packages at London Pregnancy Clinic are designed to complement NHS care, providing peace of mind throughout your pregnancy journey.

  • Can an ultrasound scan harm me or my unborn baby?

    Patients are often concerned about whether or not ultrasound scans harm the fetus during its development. Currently, there are no known side effects and it is widely accepted that ultrasound scans are a procedure safe for pregnancy. There are no known risks to the baby or the mother from having an ultrasound scan, but you must consider carefully whether to have the scan or not.

  • Why scan in early pregnancy?

    We are specialists in early pregnancy scans. Undergoing an ultrasound scan early in pregnancy not only provides essential health information but also plays a vital role in future decision-making. If the scan reveals any anomalies or concerns, it can be a challenging time for you and your partner. Having this knowledge at an early stage allows you both more time to understand the situation, consider your options, and make informed decisions. It’s a process that requires care, support, and thoughtful consideration, and our team at the clinic is committed to providing compassionate guidance every step of the way. An ultrasound scan in early pregnancy is crucial for several reasons:

    • Confirmation of Pregnancy: It confirms the existence of an intrauterine pregnancy, ensuring the pregnancy is developing in the right place.
    • Establishing Gestational Age: It helps determine the gestational age of the fetus, which is key for calculating the estimated due date.
    • Detection of Multiple Pregnancies: Ultrasound can reveal if you’re expecting twins, triplets, or more, which is important for managing a healthy pregnancy.
    • Assessing Pregnancy Health: It checks the health of the pregnancy, including the heartbeat of the fetus, and can identify potential issues early on.
    • Screening for Chromosomal Abnormalities: Early scans can be part of screening for chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome.
    • Reassurance: An early scan provides reassurance, especially for those with a history of miscarriage, IVF, or fertility issues.
    • Planning for Future Care: The information gathered assists healthcare providers in planning appropriate care throughout the pregnancy.
  • Why should I do a private ultrasound scan on top of my NHS scans?

    Choosing to have a private ultrasound scan at the London Pregnancy Clinic, in addition to your NHS scans, offers several benefits that complement your comprehensive pregnancy care:

    1. Early Reassurance: Our private scans can start as early as 10 weeks, providing early reassurance about the health and development of your baby. This early insight reduces the waiting time typically associated with NHS scans.

    2. Comprehensive Anomaly Screening: We offer detailed and comprehensive screening for fetal anomalies. These in-depth scans supplement the standard NHS checks, offering a more thorough examination.

    3. Post-20-Week Scans: After the standard 20-week NHS scan, our clinic provides additional scans to monitor your baby’s position, growth, and overall development. These scans can offer reassurance during the later stages of pregnancy.

    4. Availability of NIPT: Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), a valuable screening for chromosomal abnormalities, is more readily available in our clinic. While the NHS offers NIPT under certain conditions, our clinic provides more accessible options for all expectant mothers.

    5. Flexibility and Personalisation: Private scans offer increased flexibility with appointment scheduling, allowing you to choose the most convenient times and dates. This flexibility ensures that your appointments fit seamlessly into your lifestyle.

    6. Comfortable and Personal Experience: We pride ourselves on creating a patient-centred experience, ensuring each visit is as comfortable and reassuring as possible.

    It’s important to continue with your scheduled NHS scans for a complete overview of your pregnancy’s progress. Private scans at the London Pregnancy Clinic are designed to enhance and complement the care you receive through the NHS, offering additional peace of mind and a more tailored approach to your prenatal care journey.

  • How to prepare for a pregnancy scan?

    Some people think it’s a silly question but we don’t think so! For us preparing for a pregnancy scan is as straightforward as:

    Being Comfortable: Wear loose, comfortable clothing like a top with trousers or a skirt. This choice aids in easy access for abdominal scans and comfort during transvaginal scans. Avoid dresses for pelvic ultrasounds. Instead, choose separates that can be easily adjusted or removed as needed.

    Bringing a Partner: You’re welcome to bring your partner for support during the scan.


Conclusion

Understanding the importance of ultrasound scans demystifies this crucial aspect of prenatal care. It’s more than just a medical procedure; it’s a journey of discovery and connection with your baby. For more information or to schedule your ultrasound, visit our scans page. Our team at London Pregnancy Clinic is here to guide and support you every step of the way, ensuring a healthy and joyful pregnancy experience.

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Week 6 of Pregnancy

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Week 6 of your Pregnancy

Discovering your baby’s progress since week 5

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Having progressed from the foundational moments of Week 5, Week 6 ushers in a new chapter of pregnancy. It’s a time when your little one, just past the size of an apple seed, shows the first signs of a heartbeat, symbolising vibrant growth and transformation. This period marks an exciting phase of development, building upon the crucial milestones of Week 5.

Welcome to Week 6 of your pregnancy journey, an exhilarating time filled with significant milestones. This week often marks the first opportunity for mothers-to-be to witness the wonders of their growing baby through early scans. As the heartbeat begins and the baby continues to develop, understanding the changes and knowing what to expect can provide comfort and excitement during this special time.

Key Concepts: fetal heartbeat

The First Beat: Around 6 weeks, your baby’s heart begins to beat with a rhythm that will continue to guide their growth throughout the pregnancy. This is a critical milestone in cardiac development, indicating healthy progression.

Observing the Heartbeat: During a 6 week ultrasound, often called a Viability/Dating Scan, you might be able to see the fetal heartbeat for the first time. It’s a profound moment for many parents, symbolising the new life growing inside.

Understanding the Rate: A fetal heartbeat at 6 weeks can range between 90-110 beats per minute and will increase in the coming weeks. This rapid rate supports the fetus’s growing need for oxygen and nutrients as development accelerates. The heart rate is a vital indicator of fetal health. A strong and clear heartbeat offers reassurance of the pregnancy’s viability and normal development.

Pregnancy Checklist at 6 Weeks

  • If you haven’t already, now is the time to schedule your first private early pregnancy scan. This will confirm the pregnancy’s viability and provide valuable information about the baby’s development. You can read more on what to expect during your ultrasound scan here.
  • Continue focusing on nutrition, especially foods rich in folic acid, iron, and calcium. Stay hydrated and get plenty of rest to support your body’s increased needs.
  • Be aware of common symptoms such as morning sickness, fatigue, and breast tenderness. Find strategies that help manage these symptoms, whether it’s through dietary changes, rest, or gentle exercise.
  • As your body continues to change, consider comfortable clothing options and start planning for future needs. Also, begin to think about discussing your pregnancy with your employer to understand any potential work adjustments or benefits. Sharing your news will come naturally when you’re ready, but taking care of yourself and planning ahead? Now that’s just blooming smart!

Developmental Milestones: Week 6

As you enter Week 6, your baby is rapidly growing and developing. Here are some of the key milestones:

Embryonic Growth: The baby, now about the size of a sweet pea, is growing quickly. The length may be around a quarter of an inch or 3-4mm. At this stage of pregnancy, the baby will continue to grow at a pace of 1mm a day. This is a critical period for organ formation. The brain, heart, and other vital organs begin to take shape and grow.

Yolk Sac Development: At 6 weeks of pregnancy, the yolk sac plays a pivotal role in the development of your baby. During this time, it’s normal for the yolk sac to be slightly larger than the fetus. Typically, it continues to grow, usually in a linear fashion until around 10 weeks of gestation. It’s responsible for providing nutrients to the developing fetus and assisting in blood cell formation until the placenta is fully developed and ready to take over this role.

Heart Development: One of the most monumental moments in early pregnancy occurs — the detection of the fetal heartbeat. While it might still be early, and not all scans will reveal a heartbeat at this stage, many parents can witness the rhythmic flickering of their baby’s tiny heart on the ultrasound screen.

Baby Features Development: Tiny indentations where the eyes will develop and small buds that will grow into ears start forming, laying the foundation for your baby’s face. Likewise, limb buds begin to emerge, signaling the future development of arms and legs. These developments are subtle yet signify a period of rapid and complex growth as the basic structures and organ systems start forming.

What is seen on the Ultrasound: Week 6?

As you progress into Week 6 of your pregnancy, the ultrasound experience evolves, bringing new developments into view. Building upon the foundational observations of Week 5, the Week 6 ultrasound typically offers a more detailed glimpse into your baby’s development.

The gestational sac continues to house and protect your developing baby and its increased size from the previous week is a positive indication of ongoing growth and development. Moreover, the yolk sac will still be visible and may have increased in size, mirroring the embryo’s growth. It continues to perform its vital role until the placenta is ready to take over.

One of the most significant and emotional moments that happens when you are doing the 6 weeks pregnant ultrasound is the detection of the heartbeat. Unlike Week 5, where the embryo and its heartbeat are usually not yet visible, the viability scan often provides the first visual confirmation of the baby’s heartbeat. This is seen as a rhythmic flickering on the ultrasound screen.

In addition to the heartbeat, you might also start to see the fetal pole, which represents the early development of your baby. The fetal pole often referred to interchangeably with “embryo” in early pregnancy. Visible as a small structure near the yolk sac during an ultrasound, the fetal pole’s presence and size provide important information about the pregnancy’s progress.

  • Image showing what would an ultrasound show at 5 weeks of pregnancy. It shows an Ultrasound image by London Pregnancy Clinic that shows the gestational sac and the newly developed yolk sac - for educational purpose.

    Gestational sac and yolk sac at 5 weeks of pregnancy as seen on ultrasound scan.

  • Image showing what would an ultrasound show at 6 weeks of pregnancy. You can see the fetal pole, gestational sac and yolk sac. It shows an Ultrasound image by London Pregnancy Clinic that shows the gestational sac and how small it is - for educational purpose.

    Gestational sac, fetal pole and yolk sac at 6 weeks of pregnancy as seen on ultrasound scan.

Thinking ahead: Week 7?

Looking ahead to Week 7, anticipate more pronounced development in your baby’s structure and form. This week, the embryo continues to grow and refine its features, including the brain and facial characteristics. Your body will also adapt further to pregnancy, with symptoms evolving and deepening. As you prepare for this next stage, consider discussing upcoming screenings (we offer free counselling during our Viability Scan for NIPT) and nutritional adjustments with your healthcare provider to support this critical growth phase.

Week 6 of Pregnancy FAQs


  • Is no heartbeat at 6 weeks normal?

    At 6 weeks, not detecting a heartbeat can be quite common, often due to the limitations of ultrasound technology. At London Pregnancy Clinic, we utilise the latest technology to enhance detection rates. Sometimes, a lack of heartbeat might simply indicate an early scan, possibly within the 5th week of pregnancy rather than the 6th. Early pregnancy ultrasounds might not be sensitive enough to pick up the heartbeat of a very small embryo. In such early stages, a transvaginal ultrasound, being more sensitive than a transabdominal one, is usually preferred. Typically, cardiac tissue begins to pulse at around 5–6 weeks of pregnancy, appearing as a heartbeat on the ultrasound, even though the heart itself is not fully formed.

  • Why is there bleeding at 6 weeks of pregnancy?

    Experiencing light bleeding or ‘spotting’ at 6 weeks of pregnancy can be quite normal. This is often just implantation bleeding, occurring as the embryo embeds itself in the womb lining, typically around the time your period would have been due. Changes to the cervix due to pregnancy hormones might also lead to light bleeding, particularly after intercourse.

    However, it’s crucial to distinguish between harmless spotting and more severe conditions like miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, which require immediate medical attention. If you’re experiencing severe symptoms, contact your nearest A&E. Remember, while light spotting can be part of a normal pregnancy, always consult with your healthcare provider for any concerns.

  • At 6 weeks pregnant where is the baby located?

    During week 6 of pregnancy, an ultrasound scan will typically show the gestational sac, yolk sac, fetal pole, and perhaps the heartbeat – these will all be part of your 6 week scan photos. Physically, your 6-week pregnant bump might not be noticeable to others, but you might start feeling some changes like cramping and bloating, making your belly feel a bit larger.

  • What does 6 weeks pregnant look like?

    Your little one is in the early stages of development, assuming the classic fetal position, curled up with leg buds folded inward. Looking somewhat like a tiny tadpole, complete with a small tail, the fetus is nestled securely in the uterus, not ready to move any time soon.

  • What to do when you’re 6 weeks pregnant?

    When you’re 6 weeks pregnant, focus on nutrition that’s rich in calcium, iron, and folate. Include foods like dairy, dark leafy greens, fortified cereals, and beans in your diet. Steer clear of potential hazards like raw meats, deli meats, raw seafood, and raw eggs. If you’re experiencing light bleeding or discomfort, consider booking a viability scan from around 6 weeks to check for any issues and confirm the ongoing health of your pregnancy. The ideal time for this scan is at 7 weeks, but earlier scans might be necessary for some women to ensure everything is progressing as it should.


Conclusion

As you prepare for your first private ultrasound, remember that seeing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time is a special milestone — one of many you’ll experience in your journey through pregnancy. It’s a time of celebration and joy, as well as a reminder of the incredible journey that lies ahead.

Stay tuned on what your baby’s week-by-week growth will look like on our blog.


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