You may have realized that almost every doctor’s office or clinic requires you to have an ultrasound before you’re allowed to undergo an abortion procedure. While it may seem like an unnecessary extra step, there’s an important medical reason behind this policy. An ultrasound is performed to check on the health of your baby and yourself to ensure that there are no complications. When it comes to getting an abortion or choosing any pregnancy option for that matter, the most important aspect is your own health. Keep reading to learn more about ultrasounds, how they work, and what information they provide you that informs your pregnancy decision.
Understanding Why Ultrasounds are Required When You’re Considering Abortion

What Is An Ultrasound?

An ultrasound gives medical personnel the ability to see inside the womb. This works by moving a small device called a transducer over your stomach; this device sends high-frequency sound waves into the womb. These sound waves echo back to the transducer and deliver a clear image of the development of your baby. They can then confirm the gestational age of the baby, the location of the baby within the womb, and if the mother is carrying more than one baby. Ultrasounds can also diagnose some pregnancy complications, such as an ectopic pregnancy.

What Is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg attaches outside the uterus. This is always a concern for OBs, as it presents a high risk to the mother. The dangers of an ectopic pregnancy include a large loss of blood, damage to nearby organs, and a loss of life for the mother.

Ectopic Pregnancy

Where Can I Get an Ultrasound?

Ultrasounds can be obtained at any hospital, as well as the majority of local pregnancy centers and clinics. Here at the Community Pregnancy Center of Lake Norman, we provide limited obstetrical ultrasounds to women in our community at no charge to you. These ultrasounds are performed privately and confidentially, just as it would be in a hospital.

Ultrasound vs. Limited OB Ultrasound

So what’s the difference between getting an ultrasound at a hospital with your OB-GYN and getting one at your local pregnancy center? Well, what it really boils down to is the questions being answered. Other than that, nothing else is different except for the cost of the actual ultrasound. We use the same equipment as a doctor would use, but we are just looking to answer three questions:

  • Is there a heartbeat?
  • Is the baby in the uterus or are we dealing with an ectopic pregnancy?
  • How far along are you in your pregnancy?

We can get you set up with a limited OB ultrasound and walk you through all of your pregnancy options, answering whatever questions you have so that you can be empowered to do what’s best for you.

How Much Will an Ultrasound Cost?

An ultrasound can cost anywhere from $200 up to $400. This is of course what you can expect to pay through your hospital without any health insurance. With insurance, the price varies depending on the hospital or clinic you visit and the state you live in. At Community Pregnancy Center of Lake Norman, we offer a limited OB ultrasound free of any costs to you, after which we can discuss how far along you are, what pregnancy options are available to you, and what resources exist to help you.

Ultrasounds and Abortion

Now, this is where the results of your ultrasound can affect your pregnancy decisions. Whether you want to get a medical abortion or a surgical abortion, they each have their own time frame in which they can be legally performed. Since an ultrasound tells you how far along in your pregnancy you are, the results of your ultrasound dictate what, if any, abortion options are available to you. This is why an ultrasound is required by law before any abortion procedures can be performed.

Medical Abortion

Medical abortion, aka the abortion pill, have been the fastest-growing abortion option for women all over the world. This abortion option is available up to 10 weeks after your last menstrual period. The abortion pill is actually a two-step process involving two different pills.

Mifepristone (Mifeprex) is the first pill that will be taken under the close watch of a medical professional in a medical setting. This pill will begin to break down the uterine body and halt the production of progesterone, a hormone necessary for pregnancy development.

Misoprostol (Cytotec) is the second pill taken and is typically done at home. This will cause your body to go into labor, expelling the baby. Afterward, you will have to go through a few follow ups with your doctor to ensure no complications arise.

Surgical Abortion

An alternative abortion process is known as a surgical abortion. This type of abortion is typically done in two different ways, depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. Asipiration abortions are done fivet to ten weeks into the pregnancy and dilation & evacuation abortions are done ten to twenty weeks into the pregnancy.

Option One: Aspiration Abortions:

In this process, the abortion is performed by the use of a suction hose to remove the embryo and clean out the uterus.

Option Two: Dilation & Evacuation Abortions:

In this process, a suction hose will be used to suction out as much of the embryo as possible. Then a small metal looped-shaped knife is carefully used to cut out any remaining pieces that still hold on to the walls of the uterus.

What Could Go Wrong If I Skip An Ultrasound?

Without an ultrasound, you aren’t able to understand the condition and development of the baby. Without that information, serious risks can arise during an abortion procedure, some of them being life-threatening. This is why it is vital to always get an ultrasound, no matter what pregnancy option you choose.

Taking The First Step

The first step in understanding your pregnancy journey is by reaching out to your local pregnancy center. The team at Community Pregnancy Center of Lake Norman is more than happy to answer your questions and provide you with the support you deserve. To better understand your pregnancy options, we provide free pregnancy confirmation services such as a lab-grade pregnancy test and limited OB ultrasound. To learn more, you can call our north location at 704-664-4673 or our south location at 704-727-0535.