“If I’m considering abortion, why should I get an ultrasound?” It’s a valid question these days because abortions are easier to access and less expensive than they have been in the past. Why would it be worthwhile to get an ultrasound first rather than just taking a pill or having a procedure done as soon as possible? Here are a few reasons why having an ultrasound is crucial in your pregnancy decision.
1. Confirms Pregnancy
First, you need to make sure you’re actually pregnant. Everyone’s body is different and some pregnancy tests aren’t effective for 100% of women.1 Urine pregnancy tests read the hormone levels in your urine to determine if your body is producing high levels of the HCG hormone,2 but if you’re taking hormones or fertility treatments you could have a false reading. An ultrasound can help determine if the test was correct and if you are indeed pregnant.
2. Detects Complications
Secondly, an ultrasound can help you make sure the pregnancy is developing correctly. In an ectopic pregnancy, the baby begins to develop in the fallopian tube or in an ovary rather than in the uterus.3 In such a situation, abortion would be useless because the baby is developing outside of the uterus. Medical attention is necessary to remove the inviable fetus and protect the mother’s fallopian tube from rupturing and putting her health in serious danger.
This and other pregnancy complications can be detected with an early pregnancy ultrasound, allowing you to find out if the pregnancy is developing correctly.
3. Determines Miscarriage
A third reason to get an ultrasound before making any decision about your pregnancy is to determine if your pregnancy is viable. Many women suffer miscarriages, particularly during the first trimester.4 So it’s important to get an ultrasound to see if there’s any fetal heart activity and if the baby is growing.
An ultrasound can detect signs of a miscarriage, and it may be possible that your pregnancy is naturally ending on its own, and you don’t have to do anything. A positive pregnancy test doesn’t necessarily mean your pregnancy is going to be viable or that you’re not in the process of a miscarriage—only an ultrasound can tell you that.
4. Reveals Gestational Age
Finally, without an ultrasound, you have no way of knowing for sure how far along you are in your pregnancy. This makes it impossible to know what kind of abortion would be necessary or even if you need or want an abortion at all.
An early pregnancy ultrasound can measure gestational age to see how big the baby is and how many weeks or months along you are in the pregnancy. Then you can weigh all of your options for that stage of pregnancy and understand the risks and factors involved.
Where to Go for an Ultrasound
Ultimately, the decision to have an ultrasound is a decision of respect for yourself and your health. Find out what’s going on with your body before you rush into paying for and having an abortion that you may not even need. Find a local care center who offers free ultrasound services.
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Before making any decisions, get in touch with people who can help you make one you won't regret.