Same-day ultrasound can prevent pregnancy complications

Ectopic pregnancies are the leading cause of death for pregnant women in the first trimester in the United States. Ectopic pregnancies occur in 2 percent of pregnancies and can cause fatal complications if treatment is delayed or if it is never diagnosed.

Reports found that two-thirds of pregnant women suffering from ectopic pregnancy received an incorrect or delayed diagnosis. This can cause serious and fatal complications in pregnant women. To prevent pregnancy-related injuries and complications from an ectopic pregnancy, medical professionals recommend women receive an ultrasound on the same day if they experience uterine bleeding or abdominal pain in their first trimester.

It is vital to have an ultrasound the same day the patient experiences symptoms to make sure an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed as soon as possible to prevent any complications and death. An ultrasound is done to find the location of the pregnancy and fetus. While it is important to perform an ultrasound, many do not diagnose an ectopic pregnancy but can rule out other complications.

When an ultrasound does not show the location, a woman's serial quantitative levels should be tested to see if the pregnancy is normal or abnormal, which can help diagnose an ectopic pregnancy. Women with an abnormal level should have a uterine aspiration to test for placental tissue in the uterus. If there is no placental tissue, doctors should treat the patient for an ectopic pregnancy.

It is very important to diagnose and treat an ectopic pregnancy as soon as possible to prevent a uterine rupture. A rupture can reduce fertility as well as increase the chances of death. Ectopic pregnancies can cause fatal complications in women, which is why it is vital for doctors to test for ectopic pregnancy as soon as possible and why it is so important for pregnant women to receive a same-day ultrasound in their first trimester if they are experiencing pain or bleeding.

Source: Ob.Gyn. News, "Get same-day ultrasound if pregnant, bleeding," Sherry Boschert, Feb. 6, 2014