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Sonography Q & A

Prathima Radhakrishnan
Conslutant in Foetal Medicine
Diploma in Obstetric Ultrasound (RCOG, UK)
Fellowship in Foetal Medicine (FMF, UK)

Dr. Prathima Radhakrishnan, a foetal medicine specialist and a sonologist, answers questions posted by readers.


Dear Doctor,

I have completed 7 weeks of my first pregnancy. I had a scan at 6w+5days. The size of the embryo was 0.92cm and the heartbeat was 156. Is this okay?

I had a little bleeding since the 5th week, which was brown. I am taking Duphaston and Folic acid since the last 4 months. Now the bleeding has stopped. I called up my doctor in India who seemed concerned that there had been spotting, but my doctor in Germany here said slight bleeding in early pregnancy is normal. What are your views on this?

Is it safe to have sex?

Thanks and Regards,


Hello Vaishali,

Bleeding in pregnancy is not uncommon, especially spotting/ slight bleeding. Usually this does not harm the pregnancy. As the bleeding has stopped and you are generally well there is no harm waiting for the next scan, which is usually done at about 12 weeks (called the 'nuchal scan'). If the bleeding starts again/ you have abdominal pain along with it, you may request your doctor for another scan to confirm that the heartbeat is still present and that the foetus is growing well. AT 6 weeks, 0.92cm embryo with a heartbeat of 156 is normal.

To be really honest, there is no scientific evidence that bed rest/ any sort of restricted activity improves the outcome of a pregnancy. Similarly, there is no known adverse effect with sexual activity. However, if you have had any bleeding, it is probably best to avoid till things settle down.


Dear Madam,

I am working in Kuwait with my husband for the last 6 years. I have had 3 recurrent miscarriages. My Indian Doctor detected some infection and put me on medication. Before returning to Kuwait he recommended that if get pregnant again, I should immediately fly back to India.

When should I test for pregnancy? Can I have a scan at 5 weeks? Will this harm the foetus? Will it be safe if I travel in the 6th or 7th week of pregnancy? What precautions should I take during my travel?

Thanking you,


Hello Manjita,

Ultrasound is safe anytime in pregnancy. It would be better if you get a scan done after 6 completed weeks as then the foetal heart activity can be seen. Earlier than 6 weeks, only a pregnancy sac is visible and the foetal pole and heartbeat is not visible. It is 'safe' to travel in pregnancy if you are generally well. The issue is that if you have any problem, like spotting etc, sometimes this can get worse and really being in transit is not a comfortable situation to be in!

When you plan your next pregnancy, please remember to take your folic acid! Good luck!


Hello Dr. P Radhakrishnan

I'm in my third month of pregnancy. I just wanted to ask if I could apply henna (Mehendi) to my hair. Will applying henna have any harmful effects on my foetus? I know artificial hair colour is harmful, but how about henna?

Thanks in advance,


Hello Glenda,

Henna is a natural product so it is unlikely to harm your baby. Just make sure it is not adulterated henna.

If you too would like to get your doubts clarified by Dr. Prathima, send in your questions at

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