1-Week Ultrasound: Can You See Anything?

1-Week Ultrasound: Can You See Anything?

Your pregnancy week by week

If you’ve just searched for “1-week ultrasound”, you’re probably super excited to get on with this whole pregnancy thing. When can I see my baby for the first time? Is there a heartbeat at 1 week pregnant?
We hear you! Getting pregnant is an exhilarating time.

But slow down for a moment.

The fact is, if you were to get a 1-week pregnant ultrasound, you wouldn’t be able to see very much yet.

Let’s talk about what’s going on in your body during week 1 of your pregnancy, and when you can expect to get the first glimpse of your little peanut on that ultrasound screen.

In this article: 📝

  • How can I tell if I’m pregnant after 1 week?
  • What is a pregnancy ultrasound?
  • Can an ultrasound detect a 1-week pregnancy?
  • When will I get my first ultrasound?

How can I tell if I’m pregnant after 1 week?

Here’s the thing: in week 1 of your pregnancy you’re not technically pregnant yet.

Confused? Understandable.

This strange situation can be explained by taking a look at how your due date (the day you’re expected to give birth) is calculated.

To work this out, your doctor counts 40 weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period.

That means that during week 1 of your “pregnancy” you’re still having your period: your body is getting ready for pregnancy by shedding the old lining of your uterus and preparing a cozy new one that can host a baby.

After about 2 weeks (although every pregnancy is different) you’ll be ovulating – releasing an egg from your ovaries, which can then be fertilized by a friendly sperm cell.

Once fertilization happens, at around week 3, the little bundle of cells that will become your baby can implant in the lining of your uterus.

And then you’re finally, officially pregnant!

What is a pregnancy ultrasound?

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you no longer have to wait until you give birth to see your baby for the first time.

An ultrasound scan uses sound waves to build up an image of your baby, which is then displayed on the ultrasound screen.

The scan is carried out by a healthcare professional called a sonographer, using a probe that’s passed over your belly (or sometimes inside your vagina, for an early ultrasound).

During the scan, the sonographer can measure various aspects of your baby’s progress and check for certain health issues.

Can an ultrasound detect a 1-week pregnancy?

An ultrasound scan can’t pick up on a 1-week pregnancy because, as we saw above, your baby hasn’t actually been conceived by this point.

And that also means that the question What does a fetus look like at 1 week? doesn’t have a very exciting answer. Sorry!

A fetus at 1 week isn’t a fetus at all – yet – but that first week is still an essential part of your pregnancy journey.

So when is the earliest that an ultrasound can show your growing baby, and what kind of things can you see?

4.5 to 5.5 weeks

On the ultrasound screen, you might be able to see a black area in the middle.

That’s the gestational sac, a kind of cocoon filled with fluid, which is holding a teeny, tiny embryo (your baby in miniature).

5.5 to 6 weeks

Inside the black area of the gestational sac, you may now be able to see a small white circle.

That’s the yolk sac that is currently surrounding and nourishing the embryo.

This is also the earliest your baby’s heartbeat can be detected!

When will I get my first ultrasound?

The date of your first ultrasound will depend on your own individual situation and what your healthcare provider recommends.


Of course, you don’t have to have an ultrasound at all if you don’t want to.

But if you can’t wait to see that first grainy ultrasound image, here’s a rough guide to when you can expect an ultrasound scan during pregnancy:

So, no need to feel disappointed about the lack of a 1-week ultrasound!

You’ve got plenty more exciting ultrasound opportunities coming up as your pregnancy progresses.

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