Why should a woman have an ultrasound before having an abortion?

The 23-year-old woman came to see us believing she was about seven weeks along in her pregnancy. After the True Care nurse saw the positive line on the pregnancy test, she offered our patient an ultrasound. When the image of her 18-week-old appeared on the screen, our patient’s brown eyes grew large and round.

“I never imagined I was that far along!” she said in a shocked voice.

Considering Abortion? You Need an Ultrasound!

Although there are apps and other ways for a woman to track her menstrual cycle, not everyone uses those tools. Sometimes ovulation happens at a different time or perhaps a woman forgets about one sexual encounter. There are times when someone isn’t sure how far along she might be. That’s one reason ultrasound is vital to a woman considering abortion.

There are different abortion procedures employed at different gestational ages. For example, before 10 weeks, a woman may be administered the abortion pill, which actually consists of two pills or choose to pay more for a surgical procedure. After 10 weeks, the abortion can only be a surgical procedure. If our 23-year-old had gone to an abortion clinic thinking she was seven weeks along and that she’d receive the abortion pill, she would have learned last-minute that the abortion would cost much more than expected; the procedure might have even needed to be rescheduled if there were not any surgical appointments open at that time.

That is another consideration – cost. A medical abortion (using pills) costs less than a surgical abortion. Therefore, knowing for sure how far along she is not only helps a woman know what type of abortion procedure she’d have, but also how much it will likely cost, which can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on different factors.

The third important reason to have an ultrasound before going to have an abortion is to make sure the pregnancy is viable, which means a heartbeat can be seen and the pregnancy is in the uterus where it belongs. An ectopic pregnancy (when the baby is not in the uterus) is very dangerous and life-threatening.  If a woman were to undergo an abortion without knowing she had an ectopic pregnancy, she could mistake her bleeding and pain for the normal side effects of her abortion and not get help from a doctor; some women die if an ectopic isn’t caught. Our nurses have seen what they suspected were ectopic pregnancies while performing ultrasounds on our patients and were able to refer those women to a physician and/or the emergency room immediately. One of those patients had emergency surgery the same day to save her life.

Reasons to Have an Ultrasound Before an Abortion

Having an ultrasound before having an abortion is important for three reasons:

1.) You can know the type of abortion procedure you would need to have at the gestational age seen on the ultrasound screen;

2.) You can get an idea of how much the abortion procedure will likely cost;

3.) You can be sure the pregnancy is located in your uterus and is viable.

True Care Offers Free Ultrasounds

True Care provides ultrasounds for our patients free of charge. We are here to help you and provide the answers and information you need. If you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and are considering abortion, or have already made an appointment for one and you haven’t had an ultrasound, contact our Scheduling Line at 307-215-9684 for your FREE pregnancy test and FREE ultrasound. We will also provide you with education on your pregnancy options and a listing of helpful community resources you may need.