Why Do I Need an Ultrasound and STD Test before an Abortion?

This woman may need an ultrasound.

Unplanned pregnancies are exactly that — unplanned — and most women are left feeling anxious, worried, and unsure of what to do next. 

To say you have three options (parenting, abortion, and adoption) feels like a drastic over-simplification of the choice ahead of you. This is, after all, a huge decision and it takes time to assess what option is right for you as you contemplate how to confidently move forward with your choice. 

Abortion, whether medical or surgical, is a serious medical procedure and can be accompanied by intense side effects and potential long-term consequences. To ensure your safety, we recommend undergoing the necessary screenings, including an ultrasound scan and STD/STI testing before your procedure.

Why do I need an ultrasound scan prior to an abortion?

As you decide which pregnancy option is best for you, it’s crucial to gather all of the information you can. Ultrasounds are non-invasive scans used to evaluate the age, location, and viability of the pregnancy and identify any serious health complications you may face.

Ultrasounds give you a unique glimpse into your pregnancy options. They also help you avoid many of the potential health risks related to abortion, including hemorrhaging, infections, and sepsis.

Ultrasounds determine viability

While pregnancy tests identify whether or not your body is producing pregnancy-related hormones, ultrasounds are the only way to truly confirm that you are pregnant with a viable pregnancy. 

Viability refers to pregnancies where the baby has a chance for survival outside of the womb. If your ultrasound shows your pregnancy has either already ended or is nonviable, a typical abortion procedure will not be necessary and your doctor will help you determine the appropriate next steps.

Ultrasounds will help identify potential health concerns

Before an abortion, it’s important to rule out ectopic pregnancy, or a pregnancy that is developing outside of the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies are not only nonviable but can also be fatal if left untreated. An ultrasound scan is the best way to identify an ectopic pregnancy. 

Why do I need STD/STI testing prior to an abortion?

Regardless of whether or not you are pregnant, if you are sexually active it’s important to get routine tests for sexually transmitted diseases/infections. STDs can go unnoticed and many have no noticeable symptoms. This means you could receive or spread a sexually transmitted disease unknowingly. Unfortunately, untreated STDs can lead to severe health consequences, including damage to internal organs, cancer, fertility issues, and other fatal diseases.

If you are pregnant and considering abortion, it’s important to rule out the presence of an STD before your procedure. Having an abortion while infected with an STD can lead to serious infections, septic shock, and an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Where can I find help?

Here at Boston Center for Pregnancy Choices, we believe women should have access to the care and services they need to make an informed choice for their future. That’s why we provide free lab-quality pregnancy tests and referrals for ultrasounds and STI testing! 

Schedule your free appointment today! 


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