Strange ultrasound- can you mistake the mother's heartbeat for the baby's?

posted 2 years ago in Pregnancy
Post # 2
1185 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

5+6 would be very borderline for seeing a HB… To be honest I would be debating a new clinic that whole situation is sketchy and uncomfortable! A sonographer shouldn’t be saying those things to you. when is your next appointment?

i have heard where at early scans like that baby is measuring smaller then expected but in 1-2 weeks is right where you thought you should be. I would definitely be making an appointment for a week later or possibly even contacting another clinic. how awkward I’m sorry!

Post # 3
2820 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

That whole experience seems pretty strange. How could anyone think the fetal pole might be an umbilical cord? 

I’m not a sonographer, but I think it’s possible for them to mistake your heartbeat for the baby’s. I had an ultrasound at 10 weeks where the technician (in an ER, so not the usual obstetric ultrasound tech) measured the baby’s heart rate at 100. That would be very low for 10 weeks, so I asked her to re-check and she said, “Oh. You’re right, it’s 160.” I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the first number she came up with was actually my heartbeat. 

It sounds like everything was so confused that it would be hard to tell whether or not you really are 11 days behind. If you are, then that’s really not a good sign. My first pregnancy measured eight days behind at the first ultrasound and did end in miscarriage a few weeks later. But 6 weeks is still reaaally early, and it doesn’t sound like the tech was very confident about what she was seeing, so maybe she just didn’t identify or measure things properly?

I’m sorry you’re going through this worry! Waiting to see how things go is just awful. Are you scheduled for another scan again soon?

Post # 4
329 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013


missfrillycoat: It almost sounds like your tech may be a little inexperienced. I wouldnt panic (i know, easier said than done) but they typically cannot see much at 5 weeks. When is your next appt?

Post # 5
3756 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

This early on, a technician would be looking for a gestational sac and within that, a small yolk sac and next to that a fetal pole. The heartbeat would be detected at the fetal pole, if it’s just started beating, it could be low which may be why she thought initially that it was yours and not the baby’s. Did you get any images you can share? 

When was the blood drawn in relation to what you believe was ovulation? Did they do a follow up? One number really doesn’t mean anything, you need to know if the number is rising properly. At 5w6d it’s really early and with the potential of ovulation being +or- two days, it’s highly possible there would not yet be a fetal pole and potentially not even a yolk sac. The doctor would wait until after the radiologist reviews the scans before discussing the results with you and the technician really can’t tell you much of anything. Obviously this one wasn’t too sure what she was seeing. Did the doctor say if she saw the fetal pole on the scans? 

Post # 8
3438 posts
Sugar bee

missfrillycoat:  I would see about seeing another doctor.  I had an OB, then I had an ultrasound tech (she was the head of her dept) and then a nurse.  All three of them made me feel comfortable about everything.  My tech was very good and was not able to detect the heartbeat until I was 8 weeks, so I wouldn’t worry about the heart beat being off.  But see if you can find someone else you feel more comfortable with, this will be a 9 month journey with your doctor.

Post # 9
3756 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I am surprised she would say a chord, because I don’t think you’d be able to see any kind of chord at this point. The image is not great quality but it does look like a fetal pole very close to the yolk sac. Your hcg is rising well which is good. At that level of hcg a heartbeat should have been detected. I would probably get a second opinion but I don’t see anything that would indicate miscarriage at this point, it’s just too early to say anything concrete. 

Post # 11
6799 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2014 - A castle!

missfrillycoat:  I’m really sorry, but this is all I could think of while reading your post:

I would definitely start looking for another OBGYN. 1 because she didn’t put your hcg levels together and 2 because the umbilical cord should not be present until 6 weeks, and to mistake that with the fetal pole and then place you at 4 weeks … ummm no. 

I definitely wouldn’t bank on staying with a certain doctor because she’s “nice.” Sure, it’s great to have a nice/friendly doctor, but if they don’t know what they’re doing I wouldn’t trust my baby in their hands.

Post # 12
2782 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

missfrillycoat:  I would assume when she said cord she meant placenta?…..and if so….it would be awfully strange had one developed so early.  I thought very earliest they came was about 6 weeks, if I remember correctly.  I know at my 9wk ultrasound, I still didn’t have a placenta.

Heartbeats can be lower right around this time– so a 90 or 100 rate HB – she could have mistaken for yours or the babies.  It’s goofy that she was voicing her confusion to you…..


Post # 15
2047 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013


missfrillycoat:  to be honest I think thats too early for a HB…. in reality the “actual” pregnancy happened only 3 or so weeks ago? cause the 1st 2 weeks that count in the medical community is your period plus the time until O etc, so I dont think the heart would be as developed as it should be to pick up = meaning its probably fine 🙂 My doctor actually told me not to bother going before I was roughly 8w because they might not pick anything up and a lot of women tend to get upset.

If you check out the What to expect when your expecting website or app it shows you interactive videos of what the baby looks like and whats happening…. its pretty cool! At 4w its literally just a ball of cells and is just beginning the transformation into an embryo and splitting into 2 groups of cells (one the embryo and one …eventually the placenta). At 5w the baby is the size of an orange seed and this is when the heart STARTS to form…it does form quite fast, and if your later in the week you may be able to see it visually on an early u/s but hearing it is touch and go.

I wouldnt worry!!! I know it sounds like a lot to be 5w along but your not actually pregnant the first few! (and it depends on the machines they use as well). If it makes you feel better im coming on 24w and last week was the first time they didnt have to painstakingly SEARCH for what seems like minutes for my babies HB with the doppler at my regular appts lol…. freaks me out everytime, but now its right away. Plus in my first u/s the tech told me to hold my breathe to hold still because she didnt want to mix up our HB’s!!

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