The most common reason for having an ultrasound is to assess the gestational age and viability of the pregnancy. When medically advisable, clients may be able to receive a limited ultrasound to confirm how far along they are in the pregnancy and that it is a viable pregnancy. Our ultrasounds are scheduled based on the nurse's assessment and done at a follow-up visit. The PRC is listed by the Virginia Department of Health as a clinic that provides free ultrasounds.

Why do pregnant women have ultrasounds?

At the beginning of pregnancy the most common reason for having an ultrasound is to assess the developing pregnancy. For women considering abortion this is very useful information for making a well-informed decision. The ultrasound can show about how far along the pregnancy is, the position and size of the embryo, the number of embryos, and the heartbeat.

If there is the possibility of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy (i.e. pregnancy in the tube), an ultrasound may provide information to help evaluate either of those possibilities.

Miscarriage occurs in 15-20% of known pregnancies. About 1 in 50 pregnancies is ectopic. If one of these situations exists, then it would be important for you to seek medical treatment. Therefore, a positive pregnancy test should never be used alone to decide whether or not to have an abortion procedure. An ultrasound gives more complete information.

Is Ultrasound safe?

The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) is a national organization that studies the safety of ultrasound. The AIUM has said that 40 years of clinical studies have shown that ultrasound has had no biological risks.

Who will do the ultrasound?

An ultrasound requires a doctor's order, therefore medical personnel who are specially trained to do ultrasounds will do the ultrasound procedure. At the PRC, ultrasounds are done by our nurses, who are trained to do limited obstetrical ultrasounds and are under the supervision of our medical director. The report from the ultrasound will be reviewed and signed by a doctor.

The Pregnancy Resource Center does not provide ultrasounds for the following reasons:

  • To rule out fetal abnormalities
  • To determine the sex of the baby
  • To evaluate negative pregnancy test results
  • To determine paternity

PRC of Metro Richmond: Your center for pregnancy decisions.