An ultrasound is a tool that healthcare providers use to view areas inside the body non-invasively. Ultrasounds generate images using high-frequency sound waves.
During an ultrasound a handheld wand, called a transducer, is placed against the woman’s body, emitting sound waves and recording the waves that bounce back. The healthcare provider can then read a picture projected onto a computer screen.
Ultrasounds are safe and typically painless. You may experience mild discomfort as the sonographer slides the transducer over your body, especially if it’s inserted into your body or if you’re required to have a full bladder.
Why Do I Need an Ultrasound?
If you are pregnant, you need an ultrasound for several reasons.
First, you should have an ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy. About 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. An ultrasound will be able to tell you if your pregnancy is viable.
Another reason you should have an ultrasound is to assess for ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the wall of the uterus. Since ectopic pregnancy is life-threatening, it must be addressed immediately.
Lastly, a pregnant woman should have an ultrasound to date her pregnancy. The length of your pregnancy affects your options.
For example, medical abortion is only FDA-approved for use within ten weeks from a woman’s last period. Dating your pregnancy will give you more information to make informed decisions about your pregnancy.
What to Expect
During an ultrasound, you will lay on your back, and a sonographer will apply a water-based gel to your abdomen. This gel ensures clearer pictures from the ultrasound. They will then move the wand across your belly to get the measurements needed.
Sometimes when performing an ultrasound in early pregnancy, a different wand called a transvaginal wand needs to be used. This wand is inserted into your vagina to get better images of the pregnancy.
A confirmation ultrasound is typically painless and only takes about half an hour.
We Can Help
In addition to pregnancy testing, Bright Hope Pregnancy Support Centers offers free ultrasounds. We can also inform you of your options.
Contact us today to make an appointment.
You’re not alone. Let us support you on your journey.