Finding out you are pregnant can bring about a range of emotions– especially if it was unexpected and unplanned. It is not uncommon to feel scared, panicked and unsure of what to do if you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Before you make any decisions about your pregnancy, it is important to confirm that it is viable and how far along you are.
Knowing these two pieces of information will help you know for sure if you are pregnant and help you make the most informed decisions. In this blog, we will discuss how getting an ultrasound is a very important step in confirming if you are pregnant or not.
Is an at Home Pregnancy Test Enough?
Most at home pregnancy tests claim to be 99% accurate when taken properly. Although this is a way a majority of women find out if they are pregnant or not, it is important to still see a doctor to confirm pregnancy.
As the Mayo Clinic states:
“Although rare, it’s possible to get a positive result from a home pregnancy test when you’re not actually pregnant. This is known as a false-positive. A false-positive might happen if you had a pregnancy loss soon after the fertilized egg attached to your uterine lining (biochemical pregnancy) or you take a pregnancy test too soon after taking a fertility drug that contains HCG. An ectopic pregnancy, menopause or problems with your ovaries also might contribute to misleading test results.”
If you want to be sure your results are accurate, it is important to go to a medical clinic or doctor to confirm with a lab quality urine test and an ultrasound to determine if you are pregnant or not.
Is My Pregnancy Viable?
In addition to confirming you are actually pregnant, seeing a medical professional will help you to find out if your pregnancy is viable or not. The definition of viable is: “capable of living or growing.” Although you may have gotten a positive result at home, that doesn’t mean your pregnancy is actually growing properly.
Viability can be determined as early as six weeks gestational age, and is based on where the pregnancy is actually located. This is found out by getting a first trimester ultrasound, and cannot be determined by a urine test alone. There are typically a few factors a medical professional is looking for when confirming a pregnancy through ultrasound:
- Confirming the pregnancy location.
If a fetus is developing outside of the uterus, it is known as an ectopic pregnancy. This means the fertilized egg has attached itself to a fallopian tube, abdominal cavity, or cervix. An ultrasound is vital in determining the location of the pregnancy, because the fertilized egg can only grow properly in the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy cannot be determined by a urine test or a physical exam– an ultrasound must be done.
It is important to determine pregnancy location because an ectopic pregnancy requires immediate medical attention.
As Healthline states:
“Ectopic pregnancies aren’t safe for the mother. Also, the embryo won’t be able to develop to term. It’s necessary to remove the embryo as soon as possible for the mother’s immediate health and long-term fertility.”
- Confirming Cardiac Activity
If the baby is developing inside of the uterus, an ultrasound will then allow you to know if the baby has a heartbeat or not. If the baby does not have a heartbeat, then the pregnancy is not viable as the baby is no longer alive.
- Determining your baby’s gestational age.
An ultrasound will be able to tell you how far along you actually are, based on the baby’s size, and a more accurate estimated due date.
- Confirming the number of babies present in the uterus.
How We Can Help
If you have only taken a home pregnancy test, your next step should be to get tested by a third party professional and to schedule an ultrasound for verification. At LivingWell Medical Clinic, we provide free pregnancy testing and free limited obstetrical ultrasounds with one of our medical personnel to confirm if your pregnancy is viable or not and how far along you are. After receiving a lab quality pregnancy test at our clinic our limited obstetrical ultrasound will help determine if your pregnancy is viable or not by confirming its location and then baby cardiac activity. We will also be able to help you determine your due date, but we do not determine gender. These are the first two steps you can take in making an informed decision for your health.
To schedule your free and confidential appointment, give us a call today at 530.272.6800 or text us at 530.802.0858 . We are here to help you confirm your pregnancy and answer any questions you may have during this time. We would love to meet you.
The content on this page has been reviewed and approved by our Medical Director.