An ultrasound refers to the use of ultrasound waves to take a digital image, called a sonogram. Healthcare professionals use sonograms to diagnose conditions, or, if you are pregnant, to determine if your pregnancy is progressing as expected. An ultrasound also determines if your pregnancy is located within the uterus and not in another location. This could be dangerous for your health if not treated.
Ultrasounds are important for three reasons:
- They inform you of the gestational age of your pregnancy
- They inform you of where your pregnancy is located
- They inform you if your pregnancy is viable.
All three pieces of information are vital whether you’re considering abortion or carrying to term. A pregnancy test alone does not provide you with this important information.
The Science Behind How Ultrasounds Work
The technology behind ultrasound involves the use of high-frequency soundwaves that are above the threshold of human hearing. The soundwaves, conducted by a transducer, which can both emit and receive soundwaves, are directed toward the uterus.
The soundwaves then “create a fluid digital image of underlying body structures” such as the developing fetus. Various measurements revealed by the sonogram provide information such as an accurate gestational age and viability.
What to Expect If You Get an Ultrasound
If you decide to proceed with an ultrasound screening for your pregnancy, it will be conducted by a sonographer. The sonographer will explain everything she is doing and what she is seeing in the images. She will answer any questions you may have.
An abdominal ultrasound involves moving the transducer across the skin of your belly. A transvaginal ultrasound involves a painless insertion of the ultrasound transducer in to your vaginal canal.
The ultrasound takes about 20 minutes and is painless, although you may feel some pressure from the transducer.
Do I Need an Ultrasound if I’m Planning Abortion?
You may think ultrasounds are only necessary if you’re interested in continuing your pregnancy, however, this is not the case. Some abortion procedures, including the abortion pill, are only available at certain stages of pregnancy. The ultrasound provides you with an accurate measurement so you can make the best decision for you.
An ultrasound can also protect your health by revealing a problem such as an ectopic pregnancy when the pregnancy is located outside the uterus, typically in the Fallopian tubes. If this is the case, immediate medical attention is necessary.
Finally, the ultrasound determines the viability of your pregnancy. If a heartbeat cannot be detected, you may be very early or you may naturally miscarry. In this case you would be advised to follow up with your physician for further evaluation.
For your personal health and safety, an ultrasound is an important step in your pregnancy decision-making process.