Limited Obstetric Ultrasound

The best way to diagnose a pregnancy is through an ultrasound examination. An ultrasound can give you three important pieces of information – viability, gestational age, and location of pregnancy.

Viability comes from a Latin word and means “the ability to live.” In the case of pregnancy, viability refers to a living embryo with a heartbeat. Up to a third or more of pregnancies end in a miscarriage. Knowing whether or not the embryo is alive is an important factor in making a pregnancy decision. Medical care for an abortion is different than medical care for a miscarried or undeveloped embryo.

Gestational age refers to how far along the pregnancy is. Age can be estimated by counting how many days it has been from the start of the last period before pregnancy. However, this estimate can be off by up to several weeks, due to the fact that each woman’s menstrual cycle is different. During an ultrasound examination, the embryo may be measured and a more accurate gestational age calculated from this measurement. Knowing the gestational age of the embryo is important because abortion medications and procedures are different at different stages of pregnancy. Knowing how far along the pregnancy is may also be helpful in letting a woman know how much time she may have to consider her options.

Three Questions To Be Answered
  • Viability - Is there a heart beat?
  • Gestational age / age of the pregnancy - How big is the embryo?
  • Location - Is the pregnancy in the uterus?

Location of the pregnancy refers to whether or not the pregnancy is in the uterus. Usually the embryo will implant on the uterine lining. In rare instances the embryo may implant in the fallopian tubes or another part of the body. If this happens the pregnancy is referred to as ectopic. An ectopic pregnancy is not considered viable because it does not have the ability to survive. If an ectopic pregnancy progresses, the mother’s health can be in danger. Because care of an abortion can be different than care of an ectopic pregnancy, it is important identify the location of the pregnancy when making a pregnancy decision.

Pregnancy Diagnosis through ultrasound is available for free at Northtown Pregnancy Center. click here to Contact Us today to make an appointment.