If your pregnancy test is positive, and your pregnancy is unexpected, you are more than likely filled with a myriad of emotions. Before making any important decisions, the wisest thing to do is to get an ultrasound in order to gather important information. At Pregnancy Resource Center Medical Clinic, we will provide a free, confidential ultrasound so that you can determine your risk factors before proceding with your pregnancy decision.
HOW DOES AN ULTRASOUND WORK?
An ultrasound uses sound waves to image the parts of a developing fetus as well as the mother’s placenta and uterus. The ultrasound transducer sends out a beam of sound waves into the mother’s body and images are then shown on a monitor. An ultrasound, sometimes called a sonogram, is like an ordinary sound but has a higher pitch that we cannot hear.
There are two main methods of ultrasound. The first is referred to as an abdominal ultrasound. During this procedure, a specially trained technician, or sonographer, applies a cleargel to the skin of the mother’s abdomen so the scanner can make good contact with the body. The scanner is placed on the skin and moved around the lower abdomen as the technician performs the procedure. The second type of ultrasound is called a vaginal ultrasound. In this procedure, the scanner, or transducer, is enclosed with a protective covering, lubricated with a small amount of clear gel, and inserted into the vagina. The transducer is placed into the vagina by the patient and then guided by the sonographer. For both procedures, a doctor or other medical professional then reviews the pictures taken.
ADVANTAGES OF ULTRASOUND
There are many benefits to getting an ultrasound. While a pregnancy test confirms the presence of the hormone hCG in the body, which is an indication of pregnancy, it does not confirm a pregnancy. An ultrasound does. This is important since up to 1 in 5 pregnancies may end in miscarriage. An ultrasound can help identify if this is occuring.
An ultrasound can help determine the gestational age of the fetus. Gestational age helps estimate an accurate due date and can aid in preventing a fetus from being delivered too early, or too late. Pregnancy Resource Center Medical Clinic is licensed by the state of California and has medical professionals on staff who can help gather all the information from your ultrasound results and equip you to make the most informed decisions regarding your pregnancy.
Another advantage of getting an ultrasound early in your pregnancy is that it will help determine whether the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus, or if the implantation occurred outside the uterus , which indicates an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy most often occurs in the fallopian tube, which carries the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. This type of pregnancy is called a tubal pregnancy. Detecting an ectopic pregnancy is important because the fertilized egg cannot survive outside the uterus and will need to be removed. If an ectopic pregnancy goes undetected, there can be a rupture, which can lead to a life-threatening intra-abdominal hemorrhage. In this case, an early ultrasound can literally save the pregnant woman’s life.
ULTRASOUND FOR CONTINUING PREGNANCY
If your intent is to continue your pregnancy you will need to seek an obstetrician for OB care. They will provide more diagnostic information as you progress in your pregnancy. Here are some examples:
A diagnostic ultrasound helps screen for and identify any potential problems regarding the growth of the fetus. The ultrasound checks for congenital abnormalities and /or problems with the placenta. The position of the placenta within the uterus is extremely important to the health of the fetus and the mother. One of the most common problems regarding the placenta is called placenta previa. Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta lies low in the uterus, next to or covering the cervix. Although the placenta can move away from the cervix as the pregnancy progresses, if it is still lying low at the time labor begins, this can result in catastrophic bleeding, which can bring severe injury to the fetus and the mother. An ultrasound can help determine the position of the placenta and help the pregnant woman to receive the care she needs if placenta previa is discovered.
An ultrasound can also check for multiple pregnancies. When there is more than one baby, the pregnancy can come with particular risks that require more frequent monitoring. Monitoring the growth and position of the fetus is also made easier by ultrasound.
Diagnostic ultrasounds can also check the levels of amniotic fluid, which is the protective liquid inside the amniotic sac that holds the fetus in the uterus. This fluid acts as a cushion around the growing fetus and serves to facilitate the exchange of nutrients and water between the mother and fetus. Too much or too little amniotic fluid can be indicative of problems with the pregnancy and may indicate the need for medical intervention.
MAKING THE DECISION
Whatever your pregnancy decision, an ultrasound is an important step for your health. At the Pregnancy Resource Center Medical Clinic we provide no-cost limited obstetric ultrasounds which: date the pregnancy, confirm viability, and rule out ectopic pregnancy. These are all vital factors to know before making a pregnancy decision. In-depth diagnostic ultrasounds are conducted in an OB/GYN office when a woman embarks on prenatal care.
At Pregnancy Resource Center Medical Clinic, we treat each person who walks through our doors with kindness and compassion, providing a safe, non-judgmental environment where your questions and concerns can be addressed. Plus our support services include resources and community referrals, parenting classes, adoption education, sexual health information, and post-abortion healing – all at no cost to you. Make your appointment today.