When Natalie came to True Care Women’s Resource Center, she believed she was about six or seven weeks along. She met with a staff nurse and answered some health care questions, including when her last menstrual cycle took place. The nurse provided Natalie an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy. The human heart begins beating at 21 days of life, and True Care’s ultrasound machine can often detect fetal heart motion when a woman is five weeks and four days along.
To everyone’s astonishment, the image of a 15-week-old appeared on the screen. Tiny arms and legs moved and kicked. Natalie planned to abort her pregnancy prior to coming to True Care. After seeing how far along her baby was on the ultrasound, she changed her mind, deciding to carry to term and make an adoption plan. She knew she wasn’t ready to be a parent, but she also realized she couldn’t go through with an abortion. “I can’t do that, knowing how developed it is,” she told the nurse. Natalie made the decision that worked best for her having seeing the ultrasound and reading about abortion procedures at that stage of pregnancy.
How could Natalie be eight or more weeks off regarding how far along she was in her pregnancy?
Period or Not a Period?
Although it doesn’t happen often, True Care’s nurses have met women like Natalie, who think they are really early and then turn out to be 12, 14, even 18 weeks into their pregnancy. Sometimes women experience bleeding from implantation, and they may think they’re having a period; therefore, they think they’re not as far along as they really are. Ultrasound confirms gestational age. True Care’s nurses have also seen the opposite – someone who thinks she is about 15 weeks but discovers through the ultrasound she’s only six weeks along. For a woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and considering abortion, knowing how far along she is helps her know what type of abortion procedure she would have.
Types of Abortions
There are two main types of abortions: medical and surgical. During a medical abortion, a woman takes a series of pills and is usually done for those who are less than 10 weeks along. The first pills block progesterone causing the lining of the uterus to die and slough off along with the embryo. The second pills cause uterine contractions and cramping to expel the contents of the uterus. Surgical abortions take place after 10 weeks, or earlier at a woman’s request. Surgical abortions cost more money and have a higher risk for complications; the exact procedure will depend on how far along the woman is into her pregnancy. Knowing that information through ultrasound is very helpful for a woman considering abortion so that she knows what type of procedure is required – and therefore, how much money she needs.. Most Wyoming women travel out of state to get an abortion, so before expending the time and money necessary, a woman owes it to herself to come to True Care, located in Casper, Wyoming, for her free pregnancy test and free ultrasound.
Reasons for an Ultrasound
For a woman considering abortion, there are two other important reasons to have an ultrasound; they are (1) to make sure she doesn’t have an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage and (2) to make an informed decision as to the outcome of her pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy (when the baby implants somewhere besides the uterus) can be fatal, and though rare, such incidents do occur. One of our nurses discovered an ectopic pregnancy during a recent ultrasound and was able to refer the woman directly to the emergency room. The woman had an operation that same day which likely saved her life, according to the attending physician.
Receiving relevant and important information about her pregnancy options helps a woman choose what is best for her life instead of relying on others making the decision for her. Experiencing an unplanned pregnancy is stressful for many women, and sorting through emotions takes time. True Care provides brochures with accurate and educational information on abortion, adoption, and parenting, and by reading these resources, a woman can make an informed choice about her pregnancy.
Three important reasons a woman should have an ultrasound before having an abortion are:
- to know how far along she is and therefore, better understand the abortion procedure she’d have if that’s what she chooses to do
- to ensure she’s not having an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage and
- to learn more about her three pregnancy options with accurate, relevant, nonjudgmental, non-pressuring information.
If you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, or know someone who is, contact True Care’s scheduling line at 307-215-9684 for your free appointment.