At 5 weeks, your baby is only about the size of a peppercorn. The only things you’re likely to see on an ultrasound are the yolk sac and the gestational sac. And even those may not be visible.
If you’re 5 weeks pregnant, you’re undergoing some major changes.
But you likely won’t notice any differences to your body on the outside. On the other hand, your body is already working to nurture a growing embryo, which is quickly developing important things like the brain, heart, spinal cord, and blood vessels.
It’s normal to want to get a glimpse of your baby as soon as you can. With that being said, if you haven’t had previous complications in pregnancy and you’re relatively healthy, it’s better to wait until at least 12 to 14 weeks into pregnancy to schedule your first ultrasound. This is because it’s too early to see the baby’s limbs and organs before this point.
Some women may get an early ultrasound during their first trimester to estimate the age of the gestational sac, which usually becomes visible in an ultrasound during the fifth week.
If you have a history of ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage, or if you’ve conceived via in vitro fertilization, your doctor may also want you to have an early ultrasound. In addition, bleeding after a positive pregnancy test might warrant a look at your uterus.
If you’re 5 weeks pregnant, your ultrasound will be done via the vagina as opposed to transabdominal ultrasounds that are typically performed later on in pregnancy.
During a transvaginal ultrasound, a lubricated wand is inserted into your vagina and images translate back to a screen. It shouldn’t be painful, but it may be a little uncomfortable.
Don’t be worried if you can’t see your baby! The embryo is only the size of a peppercorn right now — about 2 millimeters (mm).
At this stage, the only things you’ll likely see are the yolk sac and the gestational sac.
It’s possible that the sonographer might be able to point out the embryo, which at this stage is likely a tiny white curled object.
Surrounding the embryo is the yolk sac, which will look like a small white circle. The yolk sac nourishes the embryo and also helps produce blood cells during the early stages of pregnancy.
The yolk sac is surrounded by a larger black area, known as the gestational sac. The gestational sac contains amniotic fluid and surrounds the embryo. You may see the gestational sac in an ultrasound as early as 4 1/2 to 5 weeks.
The gestational sac increases in diameter by 1.13 mm per day and initially measures 2 to 3 mm in diameter, according to the
You may get to see the flicker of a little heartbeat, but again, don’t stress if the sonographer can’t see it yet. It’s more common to see the heartbeat at 6 weeks or even later.
Patience is key during pregnancy. Some women may go in for a 5-week ultrasound only to hear that their gestational sac isn’t showing up yet.
There are a few possibilities as to why the gestational sac doesn’t show up during a 5-week ultrasound.
It’s too early
You may have counted the days incorrectly if you’re unable to see the gestational sac. Something as simple as getting the dates wrong may be the reason why you don’t see anything during a 5-week ultrasound.
This is common and has everything to do with your human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels. HCG is the same hormone that confirms pregnancy from urine on a pregnancy test.
Your hCG levels should be around 1,500 to 2,000 at 5 weeks pregnant, but it may be difficult to see anything until hCG exceeds 2,000.
An ectopic pregnancy may be the reason why you don’t see anything during a 5-week ultrasound. This is less common than having the dates wrong and may be life threatening if not treated.
An ectopic pregnancy happens when fertilized eggs implant and grow on the outside main cavity of the uterus. These pregnancies require treatment and may cause heavy bleeding inside the abdomen. Most ectopic pregnancies occur in a Fallopian tube.
See your doctor if you notice any vaginal bleeding or pain in the pelvic area while pregnant.
Falling hCG levels and the inability to find a gestational sac may also point to an early miscarriage. A miscarriage happens when a fertilized egg doesn’t form properly form an embryo.
Vaginal bleeding is a common sign of a miscarriage but isn’t a unique symptom for miscarriages — vaginal bleeding may mean something else in your pregnancy.
In more rare cases, miscarriages may occur because of problems with your uterus or cervix. See your doctor if you have questions or concerns about miscarriage.
Pregnancy symptoms are impacted by your hCG levels. Common symptoms during the fifth week of pregnancy include:
You may want to wait a couple of weeks to get your first ultrasound to increase the chances of seeing the gestational sac and embryo.
While most women can expect to see something in a 5-week ultrasound, no two pregnancies are the same. Your doctor may recommend more frequent ultrasounds if you have existing health conditions.
No matter what, it’s very important to monitor your health and the health of the baby by keeping up with your recommended prenatal appointments.