New parents undoubtedly look forward to their first ultrasound, the window to meet their unborn child for the first time. But in diagnosing the health of the fetus, those ultrasounds may not always be as reliable as you might think, reports TIME.com.
New research from the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that some women diagnosed as miscarrying could actually have had viable pregnancies after all. The research was based on four studies that looked at UK ultrasound specifications—but when projected using US guidelines, the findings suggest that as many as 1 in 23 women may be incorrectly diagnosed as miscarrying. The study did examine whether or not the 1,600 women in the study who complained of light bleeding or pain—both potential signs of problems with a pregnancy—actually proceeded to have any surgical procedures to clear out their uterus.
Indicators such as size and the absence or presence of the gestational sac can generally determine whether a pregnancy has ended. But, the study found that measurements of a gestational sac can vary up to 20% depending on who does the measuring.
Researchers recommend updating ultrasound guidelines and raising standards for determining miscarriage, in order to increase the accuracy of miscarriage diagnoses. And while these findings will, hopefully, aid in reducing the number of misdiagnosed miscarriages, but it won’t heal the hearts of families who have already experienced such a loss.
If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, how did you get through it? What’s your best advice for others who might be going through this?