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Why Should I have an Ultrasound before an Abortion?

Woman receiving ultrasound
Receiving an ultrasound is an important step before an abortion procedure.

It’s understandable to think, “Why would I need an ultrasound?  I’ve made up my mind to have an abortion.” Most OB-GYN doctors report that an ultrasound is a vital next step before going through with an abortion procedure, and can be lifesaving to a woman presenting with a positive pregnancy test.  

According to the Miscarriage Association, 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy happens in 1 in 50 pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancy is still the most common cause of maternal deaths in the first trimester. These alarming statistics are evidence that every woman presenting with a confirmed positive pregnancy should have an ultrasound.

Some of the most important things an ultrasound can tell you are:

  1. If You Are Still Pregnant
    • A positive pregnancy test can indicate that you are pregnant due to rising hCG levels (pregnancy hormones).  Many pregnancies end in early miscarriage, which means even if you have a positive pregnancy test you may no longer be pregnant. An ultrasound can help determine if your pregnancy is viable, and detect a fetal heartbeat. If you have an abortion and are unknowingly miscarrying, your risk for bleeding increases.
    • If you are in the process of a miscarriage, the bleeding that presents with an abortion combined with the bleeding that happens as a result of a miscarriage can be deadly, with fourteen percent of women requiring a blood transfusion due to bleeding from an abortion. Ultrasounds confirm the possibility of a miscarriage.
  2. The Location of Your Pregnancy
    • A pregnancy test does not determine if the baby is growing inside the uterus. An ultrasound clearly confirms if the baby is inside the uterus.  
    • Ectopic pregnancies (sometimes called “tubal pregnancies”) are when the baby implants and grows in the fallopian tubes rather than in the uterus. An ultrasound is imperative to detecting an ectopic pregnancy.  Ectopic pregnancies are not viable (likely to carry to term), and if they are not detected they can be life threatening to the mother. In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the abortion procedure does not end the pregnancy. The baby continues to grow in the fallopian tube or outside of the uterus.
  3. The Approximate Gestational Age of Your Pregnancy
    • This information is important for a few reasons.  It tells you how far along you are in your pregnancy, and also can influence what pregnancy options are available to you.

At The HOPE Center, we can provide a free limited OB ultrasound to determine if your pregnancy is viable. If your pregnancy is not viable, you can avoid the risks, cost, and the physical and emotional pain that is often associated with abortion.  Please call us at 770.924.0864 to make an appointment for a free limited OB ultrasound.