By Olivia McDonough

Do you need an ultrasound?

We’ve spoken a lot about ultrasound in our past few posts.We want you to know they are important, especially for your health and safety. Regardless of the legislation, receiving an ultrasound before going through with an abortion is one of the smartest steps you can take to make an informed decision and take care of your health. 

Here’s a quick recap before we dive into the new info we have for you; an ultrasound is medically necessary because it:

  1. Can confirm the location of the pregnancy
  2. Checks for fetal viability
  3. Determines gestational age

          (Read more HERE)

Gestational age will be where we focus today. As we’ve noted before, gestational age is an important factor to consider because it often determines the type of abortion performed. While you may know that ultrasound is the best way to date your pregnancy, you still might ask, “Do I really need one? Can’t the gestational age be determined by the date of my last period?”

The answer, in short, is “yes and no.”

Last menstrual period (LMP) is often a good place to start when determining gestational age. However, any of several factors can result in an estimated date by LMP that is strikingly inaccurate. These include:

  • Birth control (the Pill, IUD, etc.)
  • Morning-after pill in preceding month
  • Irregular periods
  • Anything that could have caused late ovulation (stress, travel, weight loss, etc.)
  • Uncertainty about exact start date of your last period

Because these factors are quite common, it is normal for women to discover that their estimated gestational age is inaccurate. In fact, out of the last 50 ultrasounds performed at the Front Royal Pregnancy Center, 25 showed what our OB/GYN calls “poor correlation.”

When an ultrasound scan is sent to our OB/GYN, a detailed report including the LMP of the woman is included. If the estimated age differs significantly from the actual gestational age, he writes “poor correlation.” Of the 25 “poor correlation” reports we have recently received, the difference between estimated and actual gestational age was anywhere from 10 days to 10 weeks. In other words, women were up to 2 months further in pregnancy than they estimated. 

Luckily, taking the step to obtain an ultrasound is easier than ever, so women no longer have to rely on their estimated dates when making important decisions about their health. There is no risk, no cost, and a wealth of information is made available. Whether you are considering abortion or not, an ultrasound is an important first step in making an informed decision. 

If you have any questions about the ultrasound process, you can start by reading this post about what a typical ultrasound appointment looks like at the FRPC. If you’re far away, don’t worry. Many other clinics offer free ultrasounds as well. Check here to find yours. You are also welcome to call or email us any time. We are here to help. 

FRPC: (540) 635-6181 – staff@frontroyalpregnancy.org – 11 S Royal Ave, Front Royal, VA 22630

Hours: Monday 1-6, Wednesday 1-7, Friday 1-6

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