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  • ultrasound scanOne of the constant fears of pregnant moms is the possibility of losing their baby due to miscarriage. and key to diagnosing a potential miscarriage is through properly assessing an ultrasound scan early on.
    How are miscarriages diagnosed? It was previously believed that by analyzing the existence and size of the pregnant woman’s gestational sac (in which the embryo grows), sonologists can determine whether a woman could be in danger of miscarrying. 

    In the United Kingdom, normally, if a gestational sac is greater than 20 millimeters wide, it is typically classified as a miscarriage. In the U.S., on the other hand, their standard is 16 millimeters wide or greater. However if the sac is empty or smaller, a scan is usually recommended seven to 10 days after the initial test. If it still has not grown, it is generally assumed that a miscarriage has already taken place.

    In order to test the accuracy of such a measurement, researchers, led by Tom Bourne from the Imperial London College, looked at 183 women who were considered to have already miscarried, based on an ultrasound reading.


    Bourne discovered that 175 were properly diagnosed, but the remaining eight’s embryos were actually still alive and could survive throughout the entire pregnancy. These eight women were diagnosed to have had miscarried based on the U.S. rule on the 16 millimeter-wide gestational sac.

    Human Error

    Human error is a factor that must be considered when miscarriages are misdiagnosed based on scans. According to another study, the readings may vary as much as 20 percent, depending on the person doing the reading. Sonographers may at times over- or underestimate the size of the gestational sac, which can lead to a pregnant woman being wrongly diagnosed to have had miscarried.

    While there is merit in diagnosing women experiencing symptoms indicative of a possible miscarriage, as well as basing the assessment on the ultrasound scans, one cannot simply dismiss the percent of pregnant women that may still have viable pregnancies.


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