What Is A Fetal Pole?

The fetal pole is an embryo in the early stage of pregnancy. In a healthy pregnancy, an embryo grows as a fetus and later as an infant. The embryo is not a baby yet. It goes through fetal development until birth. 

What Is A Fetal Pole development?

During pregnancy, there are three trimesters according to weeks. The first 13 weeks are called the first trimester. It is the beginning of fetal or baby development, called fertilization or conception. Within 24 hours of ovulation, it may start. 

When a pregnant mother takes ultrasonic scan during the 6w5d (six weeks at 5 days) of pregnancy, a direct manifestation of the fetus can be seen in the uterus.

This vague shape indicating the presence of the fetus is known as the fetal pole. A fetal pole is created by the thickening of the yolk sac margin during the early fetal development.

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But, we should also mention that there is no definite way to tell exactly when you are going to notice a fetal pole. Or, it’s not even predictable if you are indeed going to see one. 

That said, the general time frame for the appearance of a yolk sac, gestational sac, and fetal pole is the 7th week of pregnancy.

If you notice a fetal pole along with a yolk sac and gestational sac, you should be able to detect heartbeats within the next few days.

Within the 5th and 6th weeks, the presence of a gestational sac, a yolk sac, and a fetal pole is usually noticed. And, these further develop into a “heartbeating” embryo. And as days go by, a “heartbeating” embryo develops into a healthy child.

How fast does a fetal pole grow?

The growth rate of the fetal pole is millimeters a day. This development depends on how long the pregnancy is. After the last menstrual cycle, it becomes visible after 5.5 or 6 weeks of gestational age. In the early ultrasound, the fetal pole is an oval structure adjacent to the yolk sac.

Where Is fetal pole Located?

The fetal pole is located lying on the edge of the yolk sac. When your pregnancy is normal, your uterus contains a gestational sac. In the gestational sac, we find the yolk sac and fetal pole situated inside. 

Why Is The Fetal Pole Missing? 

When ultrasounds don’t find the fetal pole inside of the uterus, it is recommended to repeat the test. Some reasons are responsible for the missing fetal pole: 

  • Blighted Ovum: When an embryo stops developing or never develops, it is called a blighted ovum. It may be due to chromosomal anomalies in the fertilized egg. 
  • Early Pregnancy: Within 1st or 2nd week, some women feel signs of early pregnancy. If your menstrual cycle is irregular, it is very common you may not find embryos in an estimated time. 
  • Miscarriage: When an ultrasound can not detect a fetal pole, you may have a miscarriage. It may cause bleeding or spotting. 
  • Ectopic pregnancy: Sometimes, fetal poles can not grow in the uterus. It is called an ectopic pregnancy. Most of the time, you may find a gestational sac in the fallopian tube. The abdomen, ovary, and cervix are other possible places for this medical emergency. 

Sarah, a health writer and editor since 2014, is an adoring wife and dedicated mother to 2 daughters and 1 son. As the creator of Babies Plannet, she combines her extensive expertise with her maternal dedication to provide essential care and safety advice for infants, nurturing their well-being and happiness. Her writing explores topics like fitness, pregnancy, and women's healthy lifestyles.

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