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Ultrasound scan—inconclusive result

What does an inconclusive scan result mean?

Following your appointment today, it has not been possible to confirm whether your pregnancy is going to continue or not. We know that it can be difficult to take in all the facts when you are worried or upset, especially in a hospital environment.

What might be happening?

There are three main things that might be happening:

It may be too early to see the pregnancy

This is the most likely. It may be that you are slightly earlier in your pregnancy than initially thought and most women need to be 5-6 weeks pregnant before a vaginal ultrasound can see the pregnancy. Sometimes the pregnancy can be seen but it may be too early to see the baby or a heartbeat.

You might be having a miscarriage

The pregnancy may not be growing as it should, and that is possibly why you started bleeding. There is a chance that you might have already miscarried and this is why the pregnancy could not be seen on the scan.

You may have an ectopic pregnancy

This is when a pregnancy implants outside of the womb, commonly in the fallopian tube. Although this is rare, at this stage it cannot be excluded and it is too early to diagnose.

Why do I need more tests?

To help us find out what is happening we need to check the pregnancy hormone level in your blood. The pregnancy hormone is produced by the early placenta and its level roughly doubles every 2 days in a normal growing early pregnancy. When the hormone reaches a certain level we would normally expect to see a pregnancy in the uterus. We will then repeat the scan to confirm the location and size of the pregnancy. We may also need to repeat the scan if you have further bleeding or pain suggesting that you may be suffering a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Another blood test called progesterone can be useful to determine if you may have already miscarried.

What do I need to look out for?

Bleeding can be very common, and as long as it is not too heavy (eg heavier than a period) you can stay at home.

If you experience some cramping period-like pain you can use paracetamol (Panadol, Herron) tablets. However if the pain is worse than this or you are worried please do not hesitate to present to the Mater Pregnancy Assessment Centre (PAC) or seek urgent mediacl review at your nearest Emergency Department. We are here to support you during this difficult time.

When is my next appointment?

You should have already been given some request slips for further blood tests and advised that we will call you with results. Please ask us if any of this information does not make sense to you.

Contact Details

Pregnancy Assessment Centre (open 24 hours)
Level 5, Mater Mothers’ Hospitals
Raymond Terrace
South Brisbane Qld 4101


© 2010 Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-430076
Last modified 14/3/2018.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 30/3/2017
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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