Is it possible to diagnose ectopic pregnancy on the scan?
Experienced operators are able to detect almost all ectopic pregnancies measuring more than a few millimetres in size on ultrasound scan. It is important to emphasize; however, that ectopic pregnancies tend to develop more slowly than intrauterine pregnancies and it often takes them longer to grow to the size which makes them visible on the scan. Most women with a positive pregnancy test in whom ultrasound cannot identify a pregnancy have either normal pregnancies which are younger than expected from the date of their last period or they have already suffered a miscarriage. A small proportion of these women; however, may develop small ectopic pregnancies. A blood test is usually arranged in these cases to measure the levels of pregnancy hormones in women’s blood. Based on the result of the blood test we can advise women on the likely outcome of their pregnancy and on the need for further follow up.