Honestly, I don't know if this could have been seen or not, but unless there is reason for concern, the doctor doesn't normally do a routine u/s at that stage. Mine only does them in the very beginning and then the 20 week one. As far as the heartbeat...it can fluctuate and by quite a bit, so even though it was slower one day than a previous appt., that doesn't necessarily indicate a problem. The heartbeat can simply depend on the activity level of the baby on any given day. I do think that a placenta not functioning properly may be able to be seen by u/s, but I'm not for sure on that one either. It certainly does happen, where the placenta does age prematurely, but I don't know exactly what causes it. I will do a Google search and copy and paste a little of what I find.
I am so sorry for your loss. There aren't words. I mean really....I can't even imagine. I have had this fear w/ each of my pregnancies too. I always worry between appointments. I do pay pretty close attention to the movement levels because that is my only indicator.
Here is what I found on eHow:
What Causes Premature Aging of the Placenta In Pregnancy?
By Julie Ackendorf, eHow Contributor
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Premature aging of the placenta is a serious condition that can occur in pregnancy, and can lead to the baby not getting the nutrients it needs to survive, requiring it to be delivered prior to term. Often the placenta is calcified, causing parts of the placenta to die and no longer be useful.
Causes of Premature Placental Aging
Smoking during pregnancy may cause placental calcification. As this calcification occurs, the placenta begins to age faster as parts of it die. Research studies have shown that small bacteria known as Nanobacteria can also lead to placental calcification. This is the same type of bacteria that can lead to kidney stones. As the calcification occurs, the placenta will age prematurely putting the mother and the baby at risk. Other risks for premature placental aging are diabetes and high blood pressure in the mother.
Preventing Premature Aging Placenta
There are a few steps women who are at a higher risk of premature placental calcification can take to prevent premature aging. It is very important that women make sure they are getting enough antioxidants via prenatal vitamins and food intake. It appears that antioxidants may be able to help prevent premature aging of the placenta. Vitamins E, C and beta carotene are of particular importance, and may need to be taken in greater doses with the permission of a doctor.
Read more: What Causes Premature Aging of the Placenta In Pregnancy? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4967384_causes-premature-aging-placenta-pregnancy.html#ixzz1PyYWEGCY
I am so very sorry and I hope this helps.