What Will The Scan Show?

Viable Intrauterine Pregnancy

This means the pregnancy has been seen in the correct place (in the uterus (womb)) and there is a fetus with a heart beat.

This is a very reassuring finding.  It will be possible to accurately date the pregnancy due to the measurement of the length of the fetus seen (referred to as the CRL – crown rump length).

Intrauterine Pregnancy Of Uncertain Viability

A pregnancy sac is seen correctly within the womb but it is not yet possible to visualise a fetus with a heart beat.   This is a normal finding very early in a pregnancy but if you are further along in the pregnancy it may mean that the pregnancy has unfortunately failed.

It is usual to be offered a further scan in 7-14 days to confirm the viability of the pregnancy.   If the pregnancy is a failing pregnancy, it may be that you unfortunately spontaneously miscarry before your follow-up scan.

Missed Miscarriage

This is when there is a pregnancy within the womb, but unfortunately it has stopped growing.  There may be an empty sac or a fetus without a heart beat.

Incomplete Miscarriage

This is when, a miscarriage has occurred, but there is still some pregnancy tissue left within the womb.

Complete Miscarriage

This is when a miscarriage has occurred and the womb is now completely empty.  No further treatment is needed.  A diagnosis of a complete miscarriage can however only be made on the initial ultrasound scan if a previous scan has shown evidence of an pregnancy within the womb.  If no previous scan has been performed, you may be classified as having a ‘pregnancy of unknown location’.

Pregnancy Of Unknown Location

This is when a scan is performed, but no pregnancy is identified either inside the womb or outside of the womb (ectopic pregnancy).

There are 3 possible reasons why this may occur:

  1. It is too early in the pregnancy to visualise your pregnancy.
  2. A miscarriage has already occurred and the womb is already empty
  3. The pregnancy may be growing outside of the womb (ectopic pregnancy) and is also too early to be seen.

Depending on your particular units protocols, you will usually be offered follow-up in the form of hormone tests and repeat ultrasound examinations.

Ectopic Pregnancy

This is when the pregnancy is growing outside of the womb.  The most common site is in the Fallopian tube.  Other sites however include:  within the cervix, in the site of a previous caesarean section scar, the interstitial area of the tube and the ovary.  These pregnancies are however very rare

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Molar Pregnancy

A molar pregnancy is an abnormal form of non-viable pregnancy. There are two types:

  1. Partial Molar Pregnancy. In a partial molar pregnancy two sperm fertilize the egg instead of one. There is too much genetic material for the baby to be able to develop.
  2. Complete molar pregnancy. In a complete molar pregnancy, one (or even two) sperm fertilizes an egg cell that has no genetic material inside. There are not enough of the right chromosomes for the baby to be able to develop.

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Other Things On The Scan


The position the womb is lying in, will usually be commented on.  The majority of women have an anteverted uterus which means the womb is tilted forward.  In around 20% of women the womb is tilted backwards, retroverted.


It will be usually noted whether the ovaries contain any cysts.  It is normal to see the corpus luteum which is a small cyst on the ovary where the egg came from.  There may be more than one.

Subchorionic Haematoma

If you have had some bleeding, it may be that a subchorionic haematoma is noted on the scan.  This is a collection of blood surrounding the pregnancy sac.

Chorionic Bump

This is rare finding.  It usually represents a small haematoma bulging into the pregnancy sac.

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