Once we have given you a medical-grade urine pregnancy test and confirmed it’s positive, you may qualify for an ultrasound at no cost.
You might be wondering, “Why do I need an ultrasound when I’m considering abortion for my unplanned pregnancy?” It’s a legitimate question that many women ask.
We’ll answer that question for you here as we discuss what a pre-abortion ultrasound is and why it’s essential to have one — especially if you’re considering abortion.
What Is an Ultrasound?
A pregnancy ultrasound is a medical imaging test that uses painless soundwaves to produce images onto the screen of an ultrasound machine. An ultrasound can get pictures of your pregnancy when you’re as early as six weeks pregnant, which is when your period is about two weeks late. It gives your healthcare provider important information about your early pregnancy as follows:
- Viability (Is there a heartbeat?)
- Gestational age (How far along are you?)
- Estimated due date
- Location of the pregnancy (Is it in your uterus?)
- Determining if you have a multiple pregnancy (Twins?)
What Happens During an Ultrasound?
Our caring staff understands what an emotional time this is as you gather information to make decisions about your unexpected pregnancy. They will compassionately walk you through each step of your ultrasound appointment and answer questions you may have along the way.
There are two types of pre-abortion ultrasounds: transabdominal and transvaginal. We will let you know which kind of ultrasound is best for your situation.
1. Transabdominal ultrasound
During a transabdominal ultrasound, you will lay on the exam table. The ultrasound technician will place ultrasound gel on your abdomen and move a small handheld ultrasound transducer on your stomach, which will transmit soundwaves to a screen.
2. Transvaginal ultrasound
A transvaginal ultrasound is best for earlier pregnancies. During a transvaginal ultrasound, a small tampon-like transducer is gently inserted into your vagina to obtain images.
The images received by the ultrasound provide answers to questions that will help guide you as you decide about your unexpected pregnancy.
A Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Answers Important Questions
It’s not an easy process deciding what to do when you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy. While you consider your options of parenting, adoption, or abortion, it’s common to think about how your partner or parents will respond, what kind of support you will have, your finances, and how your decision will impact your future.
It’s easier to make a decision with confidence when you know that you have all the facts you need to plan your next step. An ultrasound provides some of those necessary facts by determining how far along you are, if you have a viable pregnancy, and which abortion procedures are available to you at your stage of pregnancy.
How far along am I?
Once you have a positive pregnancy test, your estimated due date (how far along you are), is calculated by adding 280 days — the equivalent of 40 weeks — to the first day of your last period. However, there are many situations when determining how far along you are by your last period isn’t accurate. Listed below are some examples:
- Irregular periods.
- Unsure of the first day of your last period.
- Unknowingly counted implantation bleeding as a period. Implantation bleeding is light spotting that occurs in 15%-25% of pregnancies when the embryo implants into the uterine lining.
- Birth control pills, or you have recently stopped taking the pill.
- Currently breastfeeding.
- Recent miscarriage.
Do I have a viable pregnancy?
Don’t have an abortion that you don’t need. Did you know you can have a positive pregnancy test with a pregnancy that has no chance of survival? This is called a non-viable pregnancy.
Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a non-viable pregnancy before the twentieth week. How likely are you to have a miscarriage? As many as 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. In known pregnancies, about 15%-25% end in miscarriage, and 80% of all miscarriages happen in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy.
Since all abortions are procedures with physical and emotional side effects and risks, it’s critical that you know you have a viable pregnancy before undergoing an abortion procedure. If you have a positive pregnancy test at our center, you may qualify for a limited ultrasound to determine your pregnancy’s gestational age and viability. This information will help you in your decision-making process because it will help you know what abortion options are available to you.
What abortion procedure can I get?
Since different methods of abortion are available at various stages of pregnancy, a pre-abortion ultrasound gives you important information about which abortion procedure you can get if you choose to end your pregnancy. Your options would include a medical abortion or a surgical abortion.
1. Medical Abortion
A medical abortion could be an option if your pregnancy is viable and the first day of your last period was seventy days earlier or less. It is sometimes referred to as the abortion pill or RU-486, and it requires you to take two medications: mifepristone and misoprostol.
The first medication (mifepristone) is taken in a physician’s office or clinic. It blocks the progesterone hormone that keeps the pregnancy attached to the uterine lining.
The second medication (misoprostol) is taken at home six to forty-eight hours later, which produces intense cramping to expel the pregnancy. Typically, cramping and bleeding start about one to four hours after taking misoprostol. A medical abortion is usually completed in about five hours, although it can take up to several days.
If you’re further along in your pregnancy or the medical abortion fails, a surgical abortion will be required.
2. Surgical Abortion
If more than ten weeks have passed since the first day of your last period, you will probably need one of two kinds of surgical abortions.
- Aspiration (vacuum) abortion: The most common surgical abortion is the aspiration abortion. This method can usually be performed up to about fourteen weeks of pregnancy.
- Dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion: A D&E abortion is done after fifteen weeks of pregnancy. It is similar to the aspiration abortion, but additional instruments are used.
At Willowbrook Women’s Center, our licensed healthcare professionals are here for you to provide the answers you deserve about your unexpected pregnancy. All of our pre-abortion services are at no cost to you. Reach out to us today for an appointment.