How Do Ultrasound Exams Detect Early Pregnancy?

closeup of woman undergoing a pregnancy confirmation ultrasound exam

Ultrasound exams are used by medical professionals for a variety of diagnostic tests, from assessing joint inflammation to identifying gallbladder disease. Ultrasounds are best known, however, for their role in pregnancy. And while many people only think of pregnancy ultrasounds as a tool to monitor a baby’s growth, they also play a vital role in confirming a pregnancy right from the start.

Pregnancy Testing

For many women, the first step in pregnancy testing is taking a home pregnancy test. These tests are fairly inexpensive and usually available at drug stores, grocery stores or often even convenience stores. They typically require passing an area of the test through your urine stream in order for the test to detect the presence of human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), sometimes called the pregnancy hormone.

While home pregnancy tests have come a long way over the years, they can still be inaccurate at times, providing either false-positive (an inaccurate positive test result) and false-negative results (an inaccurate negative test result).

So, if you have a genuine reason to suspect you may be pregnant, regardless of your home pregnancy test result, it’s wise to also get a medical pregnancy test.

A medical pregnancy test is performed by a healthcare provider. The approach with a medical pregnancy test is basically the same as a home pregnancy test, in that it’s also a urine test designed to detect the presence of hCG. A medical pregnancy test, however, is more accurate and administered in a controlled  environment, to give you a more reliable result.

But confirming a pregnancy doesn’t end there.

Pregnancy Confirmation Ultrasound

Even with a positive medical pregnancy test result, you’ll still need to take one more step to know beyond a doubt that you are indeed pregnant. And that step is a pregnancy confirmation ultrasound exam.

A pregnancy confirmation ultrasound should be administered by a healthcare professional immediately after a positive medical pregnancy test result.

During a pregnancy confirmation ultrasound, you’ll lay on an exam table with your shirt pulled up enough to reveal your belly. The medical professional will then apply a light layer of gel on your abdomen over the area of your uterus and ovaries. The sonographer (fancy name for someone who administers an ultrasound exam) will then lightly press a piece of equipment called a transducer against your belly, moving it across, up and down. This produces an image on a computer screen, showing what’s happening inside your body, including the possible presence of your growing baby. And if a baby is detected, just like that, your pregnancy is confirmed.

A pregnancy confirmation ultrasound is used not only to verify the pregnancy, but also to confirm if the pregnancy is viable, meaning that the developing baby has a heartbeat and is positioned within the uterus and not lodged in a fallopian tube, which could represent a medical emergency called an ectopic pregnancy. The pregnancy confirmation ultrasound exam can also be used to estimate your due date.

If you believe you may be pregnant, you can get a free medical pregnancy test and free pregnancy confirmation ultrasound at Sira in Gainesville. In fact, all of our services are provided 100% free of charge and confidentially, with no insurance required.

To schedule your free appointment, contact Sira in Gainesville today at 352-377-4947.

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