Positive Pregnancy Test? What Happens Next?


As promised, each Thursday, we will now offer you a piece of educational, science, or research related information. The purpose of our #ThursdayThoughts post is to share with you fact-based content that can enlighten and assist you on your fertility journey. Enjoy our post! Helping to Create New Beginnings….

Positive Pregnancy Test?  What Happens Next?

Positive pregnancy test?  What happens next?  When you have a positive pregnancy test, we will schedule a series of blood tests that check for the pregnancy hormone, beta human chorionic gonadotropin (βhCG).  If there is an appropriate rise in hormone levels, a pregnancy or obstetric (OB) ultrasound is scheduled at approximately6 weeks and 2 days gestation.  The first OB ultrasound can be exciting and nerve-racking at the same time.  This ultrasound is typically performed transvaginally, as this provides a better view of your baby.  At this early ultrasound, a gestational sac, fetal pole, yolk sac, and fetal heart rate should be observed.  

The gestational sac is the first sign of an early pregnancy.  An appropriate sac should be noted within the uterus.  The yolk sac appears within the gestational sac as a symmetric, round ring.  This structure provides nourishment to help the baby grow and develop.  The yolk sac will slowly start to disappear when the placenta begins to develop and take over around 10-12 weeks gestation.  The fetal pole is the structure that develops into a baby.  The crown-rump-length (CRL) measurement measures the distance from the top to bottom of the baby.  This measurement determines the gestational age or how far along the pregnancy is.  The fetal heart rate should also be visualized at this time.  The rate can be measured with ultrasound.  Typically, OB ultrasounds are performed weekly until approximately 8 weeks of pregnancy.  Additional ultrasounds can be scheduled if there are any concerns with the pregnancy.  There is very minimal risk to the pregnancy when completing this early ultrasound. 1

If βhCG levels do not rise appropriately, OB ultrasounds may be scheduled earlier than 6 weeks 2 days in order to assess the location and viability of the pregnancy. Sometimes, abnormal βhCG levels can indicate ectopic pregnancy, or a pregnancy outside of the uterus.

At the Fertility Institute of Hawaii, we are honored to be a part of your fertility journey.  For more information regarding infertility and early pregnancy, please schedule an appointment with one of our physicians at 808-545-2800, or visit our website  https://www.ivfcenterhawaii.com.


Rodgers, S.K., et al.  Normal and Abnormal US Findings in Early First-Trimester Pregnancy:  Review of Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound 2012 Consensus Panel Recommendations.  RadioGraphics Vol. 35, No. 7. 

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