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Early scan - is it worth it?

(50 Posts)
afrikat Fri 08-Feb-13 08:59:18

I am 7+5 (I think) and after a couple of my good friends finding out at the 12 week scan the foetus wasnt viable I am considering paying for an early scan. I just can't stand the thought of going through another month of thinking I have a growing baby inside me only to find out it has been dead for weeks.

I saw a stat somewhere that said if it was alive at 8 weeks the chances of it dying drop dramatically - does anyone know if this is true? Do you think it's worth getting the scan for some reassurance (or to at least get bad news over with) or should I just be patient and hope everything is ok? Has anyone had any bad experiences with early scans?

Any opinions welcome!

Haylebop12 Fri 08-Feb-13 09:03:28

Watching with interest. (I was one of those that got to 12 weeks to be told baby died 9 weeks)

It's really up to you.
Remember the vast majority go to their 12 week scan to find everything is normal. It's very rare to get to 12 wks and suffered a mc without any bleeding or cramps. I have had 3 mc's and this pg I got scanned every wk from 6-13 weeks. To me this helped, but also made me worry more. A scan is a good reassurance, and seeing a heartbeat after 8 weeks is a positive sign but unfortunately doesn't give you the 100% that everything will still be ok at 12 weeks. My 2nd mc was at 9-10 wks. If you want the reassurance go for it, just be prepared that it doesn't mean that everything will still be ok at 12. Sorry I really don't mean to sound as negative as I'm sounding. Congratulations, and I'm sure everything is/will be fine. Unfortunately there is no cure for this worrying, and it never goes!! If you can afford it go for it, who would say no to a sneak peek smile

Rache1S Fri 08-Feb-13 09:11:55

I didn't bother having one but I think this covers the statistics you were wondering about. I hope everything goes well for you smile

https://sites.google.com/site/miscarriageresearch/miscarriage-general

babyiwantabump Fri 08-Feb-13 09:15:16

The one thing that worries me about early scans is that there is no research that details the risks .

Yes it is nice to see your baby on the screen - but every time the sonographer puts the probe on intense heat is going into your baby . That baby is in the vital stages of development .

Just something to think about .

I did with my fourth pregnancy, It felt different from the start and was worrying, also there was a scanning place just next to where I worked so temptation got the better if me. I had the scan at 7 and half weeks and it cost £80.
It was also DP's first baby so he was anxious, I'll never forget the look on his face when they asked
'Is there twins in the family?'
And two little beating hearts.
smile

Haylebop12 Fri 08-Feb-13 09:15:49

little miss I was one of those that got to twelve weeks with no bleeding and cramping to find out bad news :-(

I didn't realise how common it was until I tarted using mn.

It has been proven that scans are completely safe. Stats are somewhere.

Hayle as I said in my post I have had 3 mc and on MN you will find lots that it has happened to, but it is still the minority rather than the majority

babyiwantabump Fri 08-Feb-13 09:22:09

It has been proven that the routine (ie two) scans offered in pregnancy are safe .

But what about the extra exposure of repeated early scans ? Those that are not recommended and done for reassurance ?

The probe passes heat to get the picture - that can't be a good thing .

I am a health professional and this is just coming from a conversation I had with a sonographer at work .

TwitchyTail Fri 08-Feb-13 09:48:41

I am a health professional and pregnant, and would not have any scans that were not medically necessary, including early ones if I had no symptoms. There is another thread on here with a poster currently going through a very rough time due to any early private scan that showed no heartbeat - she is having to deal with the worry and uncertainty that her baby has died when in reality there is an excellent chance it was just too early to see it. Each scan you have raises the possibility of finding something concerning that then requires (unnecessary) investigation and anxiety.

I often hear about scans being done for "reassurance". That only works if the scan is reassuring! And it can be a false reassurance, as just because your baby is viable at 8 weeks sadly does not guarantee that the pregnancy will continue. You are right that the risk of miscarriage reduces once a heartbeat is seen, but there are plenty of women who have miscarriages between 8-12 weeks and even later. Pregnancy by its nature is unpredictable.

So, it's a very personal decision. But I myself would opt for being patient and waiting for the 12 week scan, to get a more reliable result. Others may disagree and that's ok - everyone's different smile

TwitchyTail Fri 08-Feb-13 09:51:45

And Haylebop - I am so sorry for your loss. But if you had had a scan at 8 weeks like the OP is suggesting, it would have demonstrated a viable fetus and been given "reassurance" (if you lost at 9 weeks). Would this have made it easier or harder to deal with the subsequent loss? Genuine question, I honestly don't know how I would feel in this situation.

Rockchick1984 Fri 08-Feb-13 09:52:53

Personally I'm going to. I had a scan at 7 weeks last time due to severe cramping - saw the heartbeat and was reassured everything was fine. Sonographer told me that after seeing the heartbeat your risk of miscarriage drops from 25% to 4% so for me that is a huge change in statistics and one I'm going to pay to check for this time.

afrikat Fri 08-Feb-13 10:02:04

Thanks for the replies - a good range of opinions! Going to give it some more thought I think - totally get that it may be too early to see anything and that there is still a chance of miscarriage after 8 weeks but also think I would like to know if there is a heartbeat at this point... I have a suspicion that this undercurrent of worry is going to be with me for life isn't it??

Floggingmolly Fri 08-Feb-13 10:05:27

Seeing a heartbeat at 8 weeks is obviously no guarantee that everything will continue well; but statistically the chances of miscarriage drop significantly (to much the same odds as an all clear at 12 weeks). If it will put your mind at rest, I'd do it.

Haylebop12 Fri 08-Feb-13 10:23:14

twitchy I did have a scan at 7.4 due to HG and saw good hb. That's why I am undecided what to do...

Midori1999 Fri 08-Feb-13 11:06:20

I have had numerous scans in early pregnancy and in my last pregnancy I had over 20 scans and all was fine. I have been told by numerous sonographers and consultants that scans are safe in pregnancy. In some countries in Europe and in the USA, it's routine to do many more than two scans in pregnancy.

As for whether as early scan can reassure you. Well, yes, it can, although it can also be worrying. I will be having an early scan this time, as well as numerous other scans. Having had early miscarriages and the late loss of twins (although they were both born alive) I can't really see that anything could make it worse tbh.

afrikat Fri 08-Feb-13 11:41:42

Right am booked in for next Wednesday evening so fingers crossed! I should be over 8 weeks so hopefully it won't be too early and there is something wriggling away in there..

To add to the info above re: USA scanning - they definitely do more there as my SIL is pg and she is due for her first scan at 7 weeks then gets another at 10 and several more after that I think.

So sorry to those of you who have not had successful pregnancies - am dreading something going wrong but know that there isn't much I can do about it. My heart goes out to everyone who has had to deal with a loss and thanks for taking the time to offer your opinions x

TwitchyTail Fri 08-Feb-13 12:09:02

Good luck afrikat - hope all is well and you see a happy little bean smile

GinAndSlimlinePlease Fri 08-Feb-13 12:13:15

I had a scan quite early because of cramping and bleeding. all they could see was an empty sac. So now I'm waiting and worrying before my next scan.

If I had no problems, I would not be having an early scan. Yes, it must be truly horrible to get to 12 weeks and find out that there was a mmc. But an earlier scan isn't going to change the outcome.

afrikat I hope everything works out well for you

pinkbananabread Fri 08-Feb-13 12:27:33

I had early scans (around 8wks) with both of mine. We waited until then since I read somewhere that the weeks 6-8 are the 'riskiest': that's when the organs and systems develop, so if the foetus makes it past then, the risk of MC lessens considerably. Yes you could get a 'reassuring' scan at 8wks and then lose the baby at 9wks, but you could get a good scan at 12wks and lose the baby at 13wks, or a good scan at 20wks and lose the baby at 21wks. There is never an absolute guarantee after any scan: the risks go down, but they are never eliminated. It's up to you as to when you're prepared to feel reassured.

And I'm in the USA now and some doctors scan you every time they see you: there don't seem to be any concerns at all about the 'safety' or otherwise of scans. I didn't move here until end of second tri, but newly pregnant friends have all been scanned at the appointment where they reported a skipped period/positive pregnancy test (where in the UK you'd just get a cheesy booklet about some annoying woman called Emma...). I really wouldn't worry about the safety. When I had the early scans in the UK, both times they only checked the heartbeat for long enough to get a clear reading (a few seconds).

Babyiwantabump it is not routine to have just one or two scans. What about women carrying multiples? It is routine for them to have many scans. I had 11 scan while I was pregnant with my twins. A women I know having triplets must have had over 15 scans by now. Those were all routine scans.

weeblueberry Fri 08-Feb-13 12:55:09

Can someone please point me to the studies they're referring to when they say multiple scans cause distress/problems?

babyiwantabump Fri 08-Feb-13 12:57:02

Yes but the majority of them would have been done after 24 weeks as growth scans ?

It is the early scans - before 12 weeks which are debatable .

Unless scanning for cervical length etc then the benefits do not really outweigh the risks . IYSWIM .

Floggingmolly Fri 08-Feb-13 13:00:33

They may be "debatable", baby, but there is no evidence whatsoever that they may be harmful. Please don't worry people already feeling vulnerable.

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