Every woman wants to have a healthy baby. This is why it is always strongly recommended that to-be-mothers be very, very regular with
their pre-natal appointments so that any issue, if so happens, can be detected and treated early. Keeping in view the same though, some doctors advise a transvaginal ultrasound in early pregnancy to effectively check your reproductive health and the baby’s development. Because a transvaginal scan is done only till 12 weeks of pregnancy, it helps to detect any anomaly and also prepare for the same effectively.

Transvaginal scan

Source: https://www.cancer.gov/images/cdr/live/CDR618018-571.jpg

  • What Is A Transvaginal Scan?
  • Who Gets A Transvaginal Scan Done?
  • When Is A Transvaginal Scan Done And What Does It Transvaginal Scan Do?
  • How Is A Transvaginal Ultrasound Done?
  • What Can We Know From A Transvaginal Scan?
  • Can A Transvaginal Scan Cause A Miscarriage?

What Is A Transvaginal Scan?

A transvaginal scan or a TVS is a vaginal examination done by inserting a probe or transducer inside the vagina. The probe is covered with a new condom so as to ensure that there are no germs that get inside you. The average time for a TVS scan is about 15 to 20 minutes; and it helps the doctor to see magnified images of the baby on a computer screen. The sound waves that are emitted by the probe make the baby inside move and are thus captured.

Who Gets A Transvaginal Scan Done?

Many women prefer to get a transvaginal scan done during their early pregnancy as it is more accurate than the abdominal scans. This is so because the baby is too small to be captured in an abdominal scan.

When Is A Transvaginal Scan Done And What Does It Transvaginal Scan Do?

The ultrasound waves created by the probe that is inserted produces images of your baby. A TVS is usually done between the 6th and the 10th week of pregnancy, and a TVS helps your doctor to get a very clear picture of your developing baby as the probe is placed very close to the fetus. When done till the 12th week of pregnancy a TVS helps in:

  • Determining your due date if you are unsure of your last period
  • Determining the health of your reproductive organs like the cervix, uterus, vagina
  • Detecting your baby’s heartbeat; this can be done as early as in the 6th week
  • Figure out the number of embryos developing
  • Get a clear picture of the gestational sac
  • Assess reasons for any bleeding if you have complained of the same
  • Detect an ectopic pregnancy
  • A TVS may also be done in the later stage of pregnancy if your doctor feels that you could have the condition of placenta previa, which may mean that you will in turn have a c-section delivery

How Is A Transvaginal Ultrasound Done?

Your doctor will make you lie on the doctor’s table in a stirrup position. You will also need to undress from below the waist, and your legs will be covered with a sheet. A small, lubricated probe with a sterile and new condom will be inserted into the vagina. It does not hurt much, but may make you feel uncomfortable. The probe will be adjusted inside and the images will start to be seen on the computer screen. In about 30-60 minutes, the whole test would be completed. You will also be asked to empty your bladder before the scan.
It is necessary for you to feel relaxed as it will be easier for the nurse to insert the probe. If you are too uncomfortable and make your muscles tense, it can be uncomfortable and painful both.

What Can We Know From A Transvaginal Scan?

Because a TVS is done only till the 12th week, we have tried to sum up what the doctor sees in three time periods:

  • Between 6th and 8th Week: The baby’s heartbeat will probably be detected at this stage. The length of your cervix would also be checked and the gestational sac, the yolk sac and the embryo can be seen. The crown-rump-length or CRL. of the embryo is also measured and it is checked that your uterus is closed
  • Between 8th and 10th Week: Your baby may appear a bit like a cashew nut at this stage as he is developing at a rapid pace. The gestational sac would be examined for any bleeding, and the amount of amniotic fluid would also be checked
  • Between 10th and 12th Week: Finally, you will get to see a baby! You will be able to see the head, the body, hands and the feet. The baby is measured from the spine to the feet, and the mother’s organs are also checked. A TVS at this stage is usually either performed if the doctor feels the need of it or the mother wants to get it done; it is not a usual practice at this stage as the baby can also be seen through an abdominal scan

Can A Transvaginal Scan Cause A Miscarriage?

A lot of women are concerned regarding the safety of the transvaginal ultrasounds. However, if a TVS is done by an experienced nurse or technician, following the safety standards, it is very much a safe way to know a lot about your pregnancy. Yes, it could be uncomfortable and a bit painful, but is very unlikely to cause a miscarriage. However, if you find any spotting or bleeding after the scan, report it to your doctor immediately.

Getting a TVS during early pregnancy gives a lot of vital information concerning your pregnancy. Be confident and stay relaxed, at the end, it is all about your baby’s well being. Click here to read more on pregnancy scans and tests.