If you are pregnant, an ultrasound will give you valuable insight into the status of your pregnancy and help you make an informed decision. While you may feel pressure to make a decision about your next steps quickly, you owe it to yourself to gather as much information as possible before moving forward.
If you are considering a medication abortion (i.e. the abortion pill), you may have been told an ultrasound is not necessary. Be cautious of websites that advertise quick access to the pill via mail after an online or phone consultation. But choosing the abortion pill without first receiving an ultrasound presents its own set of risks. Here are 3 reasons you need an ultrasound before making a final decision about your pregnancy or before obtaining the abortion pill.
3 Reasons You Need an Ultrasound Before You Decide
1. An ultrasound will rule out an ectopic pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus – most often in the fallopian tube. While rare, an ectopic pregnancy is an extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation. Early detection and intervention is vital.
Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy may not be noticeable at first; symptoms include persistent pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding. It’s also noteworthy that mifepristone (the first of two pills used for a medication abortion) will not end an ectopic pregnancy and could cause complications for a pregnant woman.
An early ultrasound will confirm the pregnancy is located inside the uterus and rule out an ectopic pregnancy. An undetected ectopic pregnancy can be dangerous; if the fallopian tube ruptures and is not treated it can result in life-threatening bleeding.
2. An ultrasound will confirm the gestational age of the pregnancy.
During an online or phone consultation for the abortion pill, a doctor will ask about your LMP (last menstrual period) and provide an estimated gestational age. However, an ultrasound will provide a much more accurate gestational age by measuring the pregnancy within the uterus. This is especially important if you are unsure of your dates or have irregular periods. If you are considering abortion, gestational age will impact the type of abortion procedure you would receive. (For example, medication abortions are approved by the FDA through 10 weeks gestational age. Beyond 10 weeks, a surgical abortion would be required.)
By confirming gestational age, an ultrasound provides crucial information about your pregnancy.
3. An ultrasound will confirm viability by measuring a heartbeat.
The nurse will measure the fetal heart rate and determine if it is within the normal range.
Make an Appointment for a Free Ultrasound Today
The Pregnancy Network is one of the few places in the Triad that offers free limited obstetrical ultrasounds from the early first trimester through 20 weeks gestation.
Before your ultrasound begins, your nurse will perform a medical grade urine pregnancy test and ask you a short series of health history questions. She will also share resources and answer any questions you have about your pregnancy options.
Our registered nurses are trained and certified to perform ultrasounds.
The ultrasound starts with a non-invasive abdominal probe on your abdomen. If needed, and with your consent, a transvaginal ultrasound may be performed as well. A transvaginal ultrasound can help your nurse see a closer image of the uterus and baby early in pregnancy. It’s important to note that limited obstetrical ultrasounds do not assess fetal anatomy abnormalities, genetic disorders, or gender. Referrals will be made for ongoing prenatal care where your preferred OBGYN who will closely oversee your care.
Watch the video below for details of what you can expect during your appointment.
All of the ultrasounds performed at The Pregnancy Network are reviewed by our three Board-Certified OB/GYN Volunteer Medical Directors. (Check out the video below for details on what our medical directors look for on an ultrasound scan.) The Pregnancy Network has a seamless referral process and refers to local women’s clinics and women’s emergency rooms for follow up care if needed.
You can learn more about limited obstetrical ultrasounds by clicking here. We would love to walk alongside you as you make your decision. Click here to schedule your free pregnancy test and ultrasound, or call (336) 274-4881 today.
*All the above information was reviewed by a staff registered nurse.