When you finally learn that you are pregnant, it is possible that your doctor would schedule an early pregnancy ultrasound test. And if your child’s embryo isn’t very developed to actually start making sounds that can be identified by the ultrasound equipment, it would be used to identify a fetal pole instead.
A fetal pole’s development is one of the very first stages of embryo related growth. If your child’s fetal pole is missing, it is possible that you would start wondering if your child is actually safe and alright.
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But before we talk about many other issues, it is very important that you know what a fetal pole is, and what it is used for, as this will help you get more prepared when you go for your checkups or parental visits.
What is a fetal pole?
The fetal pole is associated with childbirth and it appears as a dense part alongside the yolk sac. This pole is a main source of nutrition and it helps in nourishing your baby during the first stages of your pregnancy. This structure is a preliminary one that later turns into the fetus.
The fetal pole is curved in appearance and it has an embryo like head on one part, and a visible tail like structure at the other end. The distance between both points are usually used in determining the CRL “crown to rump length” which is vital in finding out the stage you have gotten to in your pregnancy.
Fetal Pole Stage Developments
Week 1 and 2
During this stage, the menstrual period has ended and the person’s body is actually getting set for ovulation. For most women, this takes place in 11 to 21 days from the first day of the final menstrual period or time. Sperm cells usually make their way through the cervix and into the fallopian tubes.
When conception happens, the sperm cell usually enters and egg and make a 46 set chromosome called a zygote. This is the SI unit of a single human.
The fertilized egg which can be called a morula, then spends some days travelling through the fallopian tube towards the direction of the uterus, then divides along the way. This morula turns into a blastocyst and enters into the uterus
Week 3 to 4
If you go for scans during this time, you would usually detect some decidual reactions created by the thickening of the endometrium. It is actually not very easy to detect this thing especially if you do not have a very good equipment.
Before going for tests like these, you should be aware of two things, there is a trans vaginal ultrasound and a trans abdominal ultrasound, and the transvaginal one detects sound faster than the transabdominal one. The follicle in which the egg is released, is called the corpus luteum.
It helps in releasing progesterone that aids in thickening and preparing the uterine lining for it’s implantation. After the plantation is done, the corpus keeps producing progesterone for other birth related activities.
Of the corpus luteum fails to support the pregnancy with adequate progesterone distribution, the person can actually get an early pregnancy loss. The progesterone usually inhibits various immune responses, decreases prostaglandins and prevents various other complications.
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Week 5 to 6
At this week range, your fetal age is about week 3 and the gestational sac is the main thing that most ultrasound devices detect. This can actually be found before the main embryo is actually seen. The yolk sac is usually the main source of nutrient at this particular time too.
The Human chorionic gonadotropin levels also varies at this point. And once the level is at least 2000, you can then start seeing some developments in your uterus. It is actually very important to actually take notes of the difference between the hCG and progesterone levels because they are actually a different thing even though you might think they are actually similar.
You might also start hearing heartbeats, especially when it is entering the 6th week. The fetal pole, is usually curved in appearance at the head region, and possess a tail at the rear. It is now very easy to actually take crown to rump measurements. This makes your pregnancy dating more accurate.
The fetal pole is seen at a CRL length of 2-4mm and the heartbeat may actually be seen as a regular stuff when the CRL reaches 5mm in length. If you do an ultrasound test and do not find anything, you should consider going for another one in 3 to 7 days, this could mean that your pregnancy dating wasn’t right.
At this point, your fetal age is at 5 weeks, and a heartbeat can be easily detected at this point. A normal heartbeat is usually 90-110 beats per minute. Anything extremely more or less, could mean lots of things that are actually not good news. When the heartbeat is actually confirmed, the pregnancy can actually successfully continue.
If the embryo is less than 5mm in CRL, you should know that your baby might actually be healthy, even if the tests may not actually show a heartbeat. In this case a follow up scan would actually show living activity present.
But if your doctor is still worried o concerned, he or she would definitely measure your gestational sac and fetal pole if possible to ensure that there are no signs of a miscarriage, or even a blighted ovum. If your fetal pole is very small for measurements, a repeat scan should be done in 3 to 5 days.
If there I still an absence in the fetal pole, we could be looking at the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy being formed.
Week 8 to 9
By this time, a very strong fetal heartbeat should be discovered and by the 9th week, it should be getting around 140 to 170bpm. If you are not getting these results, you should do more tests, or see a doctor for explanations on what the issue could be.
Knowing this, you should always follow his or her advice on this issue and ensure that you stay safe. The hCG levels at this time, usually decreases and your pregnancy if in stable condition, should show fetal poles.
Some reasons why you might actually miss your fetal pole
There are actually many reasons why a woman’s fetal pole might not be so visible when an early ultra sound test is done, this can even happen when the pregnancy test is positive too. Some of these reasons are;
- The test was taken too early
The fetal pole is usually visible between the fifth to sixty week of your pregnancy gestational era. So any mistake in determining this actual stage or time range in your pregnancy might actually make the ultrasound equipment make inaccurate readings.
Doing things like wrongly getting your last period date might actually change the expected results the ultrasound equipment ought to give.
It can also give wrong results if you have an irregular cycle pattern. At times, because of this irregular cycle pattern, your pregnancy may exceed 6 weeks, or even less.
This is because some people ovulate earlier than others. If it is confirmed by your doctor that you come for that ultrasound test earlier than you are supposed to, it is possible that they would ask you to return in a week or later for a follow up ultrasound tests.
- Possible miscarriage issues
If you have ultrasound tests in the required time frame, and there are still no signs of a fetal pole, it is possible that you have gotten a miscarriage. Some times, the gestational sac which is empty stays intact for some weeks before the symptoms of miscarriage starts showing.
And like a blighted ovum, this sac can also grow more causing lots of complications. You should know that miscarriages can be checked by a single ultrasound showing no signs of a fetal pole.
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You should know that in pregnancy, there are many good and bad experiences. So having high hopes at a positive pregnancy test is actually very normal. But along the way, it is also possible that you can encounter many complications, which could create lots of demoralizing and even devastating experiences.
At times like these, you would definitely need the support of your family and friends, but if you don’t get that, it is essential that you see a therapist that specializes in this field. Knowing this, you can get the help you deserve and go through any issue that concerns your pregnancy or fertility in general.