If you think you might be pregnant, you may be considering if you need to book an appointment for an ultrasound. An ultrasound can answer some important questions for you – here’s some more information on what an ultrasound is and what you can expect.
What is An Ultrasound and How Does It Work?
An ultrasound works by transmitting high frequency soundwaves, too high for the human ear to hear. An image is then displayed on a screen after determining space and size based on how long it takes the soundwave to be reflected back.
In this way, an ultrasound can help create a digital picture of internal bodily structures and systems without having to resort to other more invasive procedures. Ultrasounds are perfectly safe, involving soundwaves and not radiation.
Ultrasounds are typically performed by a sonographer or a nurse who has specialized training in operating ultrasound machines and measuring certain parameters using this form of technology.
What To Expect In An Ultrasound
There are two types of common prenatal ultrasounds: transabdominal (across your belly) or transvaginal (inside the vagina).
Transvaginal ultrasounds are most often used in early pregnancies or if a transabdominal ultrasound does not provide clear enough information. In this ultrasound procedure, a wand known as a transducer is placed into the vagina and a digital picture is created using soundwave reflections.
A transabdominal ultrasound is done by moving a paddle-like transducer across the belly to produce a clear picture of the uterus and the pregnancy.
Your sonographer will take several pictures and possibly a video, capturing the information on the pregnancy that you will need in order to know the best medical next steps for you and your health.
Why Is An Ultrasound Needed in Pregnancy?
An ultrasound is important to receive before making a pregnancy decision as the ultrasound appointment – and the medical professional performing it – can answer many questions about your health and your pregnancy.
An ultrasound primarily determines:
- Location of the pregnancy – whether the pregnancy is implanted and growing in the uterus or outside of the uterus (a complication known as ectopic pregnancy that requires immediate medical attention and cannot be treated by abortion)
- Gestational age – how far along the pregnancy is, measured by the relative size of the fetus (a fact that can determine your next medical steps, including what prenatal care is needed or what abortion procedures may be an option)
- Viability – whether the pregnancy is actively growing and viable, meaning a heartbeat can be detected. We know that 15 to 20% of pregnancies do not continue to term. Most miscarriages happen in the first trimester. It is important to know if you have a viable pregnancy.
These pieces of information are vital to know in order to determine what you need to do next to protect your health. If the pregnancy is located outside of the uterus, you may need to seek immediate emergency medical attention.
If the pregnancy is not viable, miscarriage may be a concern and you may need to seek further medical attention from a doctor to prevent further complications.
Additionally, because certain abortion procedures are only recommended for certain stages of pregnancy – such as the abortion pill, only approved by the FDA for pregnancies up to 10 weeks – how far along you are in your pregnancy can determine what abortion options may be available to you.
Our caring, professional sonography staff at First Care Clinic is here to help. All of our services are available at no cost to you. You deserve the best for your health and your future! Schedule your free ultrasound appointment today to get the answers you need.