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What to Expect at an 8-Week Ultrasound

Pregnant and going for your 8th-week ultrasound? If yes, you must be more than excited to know all that you can about the little baby growing inside of you. Read on to know what you can expect in your upcoming 8-week ultrasound.

Book an online appointment with Dr. Pooja Shukla for Pregnancy & Gynecology related issues

What is A Pregnancy Ultrasound?

A pregnancy ultrasound is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to form an image of the baby inside the womb. Doctors ask for regular ultrasounds during pregnancy, to keep track of the baby’s development and ensure everything is on track. Pregnancy ultrasounds help identify issues at the earliest.

Also known as a sonogram, today with advanced technology, you can get a regular ultrasound, 3D ultrasound and even a 4D ultrasound.

To Know More : Can the ultrasound detect any abnormalities or genetic conditions at this stage?

How Frequently Do You Take Ultrasounds in Pregnancy?

The number of ultrasounds you need during your pregnancy will vary depending on your pregnancy and your doctor. Apart from an ultrasound, your doctor will even ask for fetal echocardiography, which is the ultrasound of your baby’s heart.

In most cases, your doctor will suggest an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy and another during the second or third trimester to ensure the baby is progressing well. Some doctors may want an ultrasound every trimester.

You may require more ultrasounds in the following conditions:

  • You have had a previous miscarriage
  • You experience some complications that require close monitoring
  • The older you are the more scans you may require to ensure everything is progressing as it should
  • Some complication or concern was identified in the previous ultrasound
  • Your previous ultrasound was not clear or detailed enough.

Which Scan is Done in the 8th Week of Pregnancy?

Though you may confirm your pregnancy in the 4th week itself, through pregnancy kits and blood tests, doctors will need an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as 6 weeks in some pregnancies, but in most cases, it can take a few days more. So, most doctors wait for the 8th week to take an ultrasound and check the position and heartbeat of the baby.

When it comes to pregnancy ultrasounds, there are two options – transvaginal and abdominal. Though everyone expects an abdominal ultrasound in pregnancy, at 8 weeks, most doctors ask for a transvaginal ultrasound.

In a transvaginal ultrasound, the technician will insert a wand into the vaginal opening to get a clear picture of the fetus, the implantation position, and everything around it. In an abdominal ultrasound, they will apply a gel and use an instrument on your belly to get an image of the baby inside.

To Know More : How can we detect genetic conditions during pregnancy?

What Can I Expect at an 8-Week Ultrasound?

This can be very exciting and make you nervous at the same time. This 8th-week ultrasound is going to be your first peek at your unborn child. Here is what you can expect in this scan:

  1. Confirm Pregnancy – The main reason for this scan at this stage is to confirm pregnancy. The scan will help identify if yours is a viable pregnancy and not a molar or ectopic pregnancy. The scan will also help determine if yours is a single pregnancy or if you are carrying more than one baby.
  2. Measure Baby – The scan will measure the baby’s CRL – Crown to Rump Length, which will help determine the gestational age of the fetus. This will also help determine the EDD – expected delivery date.
  3. Spot Your Baby – Your baby is just 8 weeks old. So, you cannot expect their limbs and torso to be developed at this stage. All you can see now is one tiny spot or an oblong bean-like shape inside the sac. You may not see it right away and may need help from the doctor or technician to see it. It is okay if you can’t make out anything from it. Don’t worry!
  4. Heartbeat – By this time your baby’s heart will start beating. A transvaginal scan can detect clear heartbeats at this time. An abdominal scan may not easily detect the heartbeat if the uterus is tipped backwards or if your abdomen is big. Sometimes, you can hear a baby’s heartbeat only in the 10th or 11th week of pregnancy.
  5. Discomfort – In a transvaginal ultrasound, the doctor will insert the wand into your vaginal opening; which means you need to remove your clothes and get on the scanning bed, to let them scan you. It can be quite uncomfortable and sometimes painful too.

How Accurate is an Abdominal Ultrasound at 8 Weeks?

An abdominal ultrasound is less accurate than a transvaginal ultrasound. Since the ultrasound is done through multiple layers, you may need a couple of more weeks before the abdominal ultrasound can capture the image of the baby with all the other relevant details.

At the early stages, an abdominal ultrasound has an error margin of 1.2 weeks, meaning, your baby’s gestational age can be a week more or less. Once you cross your 20th week, the baby is bigger and imaging is easier. So, at this point, your abdominal ultrasound will be the most reliable method to track your pregnancy.

To Know More : Is baby Visible during 8 week ultrasound test?

Can You Tell Gender at 8 Weeks Ultrasound?

No, you cannot tell the gender of a fetus this early in the pregnancy. Though the genitals are one of the first organs to develop in a foetus. However, it is not developed enough to identify gender. You can usually identify the gender after completing 20 weeks.

In India, it is a punishable offence to find the gender of the baby. So, no scan canters in India will willingly divulge those details to you.

Can You Hear A Heartbeat at 8 Weeks Of Pregnancy?

In some cases you can hear the heartbeat through an abdominal scan, in others it could still be too early to hear the heartbeat. In many cases, the baby’s heartbeat can be heard only in the 11th or 12th week.

It varies from person to person, the position of your sac and the size of your abdomen. These factors may prevent you from hearing your baby’s heartbeat until they are 11-12 weeks old. If you are unable to hear the heartbeat due to the baby’s position, the technician might ask you to come back in a couple of hours and try scanning again. If the baby is not big enough yet, your doctor will ask you to get an ultrasound about 2 weeks later.

Must Read : Your First Trimester Scan or Nuchal Translucency Scan


You may not learn much about your baby from the 8th-week ultrasound but it is an important step in confirming a pregnancy. If there are any complications in the pregnancy, it is always better to find out at the earliest and address them accordingly. Your 8th-week ultrasound need not be stressful. It is after all your first look at your baby, so enjoy the experience.

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