An early ultrasound is an advanced diagnostic technique performed by trained medical staff and used to determine if the pregnancy is viable at the point of the scan and dating of the pregnancy. It is an important step in understanding your pregnancy & abortion questions. Depending on your individual situation, our center may offer limited obstetrical ultrasound at no charge in order to:
- Detect fetal heartbeat
- Determine approximate due date
- Determine the number of fetuses
- Determine the location of pregnancy (intrauterine v. ectopic)
- Advise immediate medical attention at an emergency room, if indicated
Please note that if you are experiencing health issues such as bleeding, spotting, or cramping, you should seek immediate medical attention. These could be symptoms of a spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, and you may require further medical treatment.
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Why should I get a sonogram at Prestonwood Pregnancy Center?
If you think you’re pregnant, you may or may not have already taken a pregnancy test by the time you call Prestonwood Pregnancy Center. Although a pregnancy test is the first indication that you’re pregnant, it is not a medical diagnosis for pregnancy. It does not tell you how far along you might be or if the pregnancy is developing as expected. Having an ultrasound, performed by trained medical staff, and reviewed by a doctor, is essential to your health and will aid you in determining next steps for your pregnancy.
What is an ultrasound?
Ultrasound imaging is also called “ultrasound scanning” or “sonography” and it is a safe and painless procedure. An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves or echoes instead of radiation to safely create images of the inside of the body. It is suitable for use during pregnancy.
How is ultrasound used during pregnancy?
An ultrasound is used to view the fetus inside the uterus. It allows your obstetrician–gynecologist (OB-GYN) or other health care professionals to check the health and development of the fetus, monitor your pregnancy, and detect any congenital anomalies. In addition, an ultrasound is used during chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis to help guide these procedures.
There are three types of prenatal ultrasound exams: (1) standard, (2) limited, and (3) specialized. At Prestonwood Pregnancy Center, we do limited ultrasounds
What is a limited ultrasound exam?
At Prestonwood Pregnancy Center, we perform limited obstetrical ultrasounds. A limited ultrasound means that we are not seeking to answer all the questions your OB-GYN would through a standard or specialized scan. Although our nurses are supervised by medical doctors, the scans that they preform are limited by the scope of the questions they are trying to answer and the information they can share with you.
Through the scan, they are seeking to answer the following:
- Is the fetus inside the uterus or is there an immediate risk of an ectopic pregnancy?
- How far along is the pregnancy?
- What is the date of conception?
- Is there a heartbeat?
The scan is a tool to help you better understand your situation and to help you make an informed decision about your pregnancy.
How should I prepare for an ultrasound?
You should wear a loose-fitting, two-piece outfit for the examination. This will allow for the lower abdominal area to easily be exposed during this procedure.
In the case of an early pregnancy, the sonographer may elect (in consultation with you) to examine you by means of transvaginal ultrasound in order to observe the fetus more closely.
Please drink 24 to 32 ounces of water one hour prior to your ultrasound appointment. Try to avoid emptying your bladder before the exam. If you must empty your bladder, drink another glass of water right afterward. You will have a better scan with a full bladder.
Will I receive an ultrasound at my initial appointment?
This depends on several factors. Although we attempt to do same-day sonograms on the majority of our clients, that is a discussion that will take place between you and the nurse you will visit with during your initial appointment.
When you arrive for your appointment, you will be given a pregnancy test-even if you have had a positive one at home-as it is required by our doctors in order for us to perform the ultrasound. Once we have your positive pregnancy test, a nurse will then discuss with you when it would be best to have your ultrasound.
I am considering an abortion. Why should I have an ultrasound?
Ultrasounds allow you to be fully informed and it is important that you are fully informed before making any decision.
Before scheduling an abortion you need to know:
- How far along you are in your pregnancy. This will determine the type of abortion procedure that could be used to end your pregnancy.
- Is the pregnancy viable? Miscarriage is extremely common during the first trimester, and it causes the pregnancy to end on its own. Some women don’t know they’ve had a miscarriage until it is seen during an ultrasound. If you have miscarried, you will need to receive follow-up care from a doctor.
An ultrasound provides you necessary information that allows you to make the best choice for you.