What can an ultrasound tell me about my pregnancy options?

ultrasound and pregnancy optionsWhat can an ultrasound tell me about my pregnancy options?


In order to make the best possible choices about the outcome of your unplanned pregnancy, it is important that you are informed about all aspects of your care, including your ultrasound…

When most of us think of ultrasounds, we think of pregnancy. We also know ultrasounds give medical information but many of us don’t know specifically what they show or why it’s helpful for a woman to have one before making a decision about her pregnancy.

A limited OB Ultrasound is a quick and simple way to get the answers to three very important questions regarding pregnancy. The answers to these questions will impact the pregnancy options available to you.


#1) Is the pregnancy located where it’s supposed to be?

An ultrasound can determine if the pregnancy is inside your uterus where it is supposed to be. An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy located outside of the uterus and can be dangerous to your health if not properly treated. As your ultrasound begins you may notice your sonographer scanning over your uterus to make sure the pregnancy is implanted in the proper place.

Treatment may not be needed if the ectopic pregnancy ends naturally through miscarriage. Ectopic pregnancies are often treated with medication or surgery to end the pregnancy and avoid rupture or bleeding.

If your pregnancy is located in the uterus then your pregnancy options will be determined by the gestational age and viability of your pregnancy.


#2) How far along is the pregnancy?

During the next part of your ultrasound you may notice your sonographer making dotted lines or marks on the screen. At this point she is performing measurements to determine the gestational age of your pregnancy. The gestational age is measured in weeks and determines what pregnancy options are available to you, specifically the type and cost of abortion you would be eligible for.


#3) Is the pregnancy viable?

The third question your ultrasound will answer is about the viability of the pregnancy. When you hear the word “viability” it is a technical way of saying “alive”. It is important for you to know that the pregnancy has not ended on its own or is not an empty pregnancy (also known as a “blighted ovum.”) During your ultrasound, the most common way to determine viability is by measuring the FHR (Fetal Heart Rate). Your sonographer will perform this measurement and inform you of the results.

If your pregnancy is not viable then you may not need an abortion.

Because the answers to these 3 questions are so important, you may need a repeat ultrasound if one or more of them can’t be determined with the first ultrasound. Remember, the answers to these questions could possibly change the care you need so always be sure you get an ultrasound before making decisions about your pregnancy.

Now that you know, you are better informed. And if you have more questions during your exam, don’t be afraid to ask! When you are actively involved in your care, you become more educated. And when you are more educated, you can make certain you are being treated with utmost respect and dignity – which is exactly how you deserve to be treated.


If you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy we want you to know that you’re not alone. Call White Oak Women’s Center at 815-408-0793 to schedule a free and confidential appointment with our patient care team.