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How Does an Ultrasound Work?

During an ultrasound, a small handheld wand emits sound waves into the body and records the sound waves that bounce back. A picture is then created using this information and is displayed on a computer screen. 

Why Are Ultrasounds Used?

An ultrasound is a diagnostic test that uses sound waves to look inside the body. Ultrasounds are commonly used in medical situations. They offer medical providers a glimpse into the body.

One of the most common uses for ultrasound is during pregnancy. 

Do I Need an Ultrasound?

If you are pregnant and considering your options, the first step after a positive pregnancy test is to confirm your pregnancy through ultrasound. Ultrasound provides information to help you determine which options are available to you.

According to the Mayo Clinic, 10-20% of pregnancies end in a natural miscarriage. An ultrasound will assess if you have any miscarriage indicators.

An ultrasound will also show how far along you are in your pregnancy. This information is vital to obtain, and abortion options are based on this information. How far along your pregnancy is changes the options available to you. For example, the abortion pill is only recommended for use in pregnancies under 10 weeks because of health and safety concerns.

Finally, an ultrasound can tell you if your pregnancy is ectopic. When a pregnancy implants outside the uterus, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. This type of pregnancy requires immediate medical attention.

What Should I Expect During my Ultrasound?

During the appointment, you will lie down on your back while the nurse sonographer uses a hand-held wand on your abdomen to get a view of your pregnancy. You will likely feel pressure from the device, but this should not be painful. 

You will be asked to drink water prior to your appointment in order to ensure you have a full bladder. This is useful for the sonographer providing the ultrasound.

In some instances where the information is not obtained when the probe is placed on the abdomen, a vaginal ultrasound might be performed. This ultrasound uses a different type of probe and you will be asked to empty your bladder prior to the scan. This type of exam provides a clearer view to get the information needed that the abdominal scan did not obtain. The nurse will explain each step in the process and provide you the opportunity to view the ultrasound screen if you so choose. After the scan is complete, the nurse will review the findings of the ultrasound with you and answer questions you may have.

Schedule a Free Appointment 

Your Options Medical offers free pregnancy testing and ultrasounds to confirm your pregnancy. Contact us today to schedule your free appointment.

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Experts in Pregnancy Confirmation Services


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