Exams and Tests
Exams and tests are used to diagnose a pregnancy and to check for any health conditions you may have that need special consideration. Regardless of whether you know that you would continue a pregnancy or have an abortion, your evaluation will include a medical history, a physical exam, and some laboratory tests.
A physical exam before an abortion includes:
- Taking your vital signs, such as blood pressure and heart rate.
- Listening to your heart and lungs.
- Performing a Reference pelvic exam to find out the size and shape of your uterus. The size of the uterus can help estimate the number of weeks you are pregnant. A pelvic exam also allows your doctor to check the Reference ovaries Opens New Window and Reference fallopian tubes Opens New Window for a possible Reference tubal (ectopic) pregnancy Opens New Window, which would feel like an abnormal mass in the pelvis.
Laboratory tests before an abortion include:
- A urine pregnancy test to find out if you are pregnant. (You may have missed a menstrual cycle for another reason, such as stress, and not because you are pregnant.)
- A blood test to
- Whether you have low blood iron (Reference anemia Opens New Window). If you have anemia, your doctor may want you to take some iron supplements before and after an abortion.
- Your blood type and whether you are Rh-negative. If you are Reference Rh-negative Opens New Window, you should receive a vaccine called Rh immunoglobulin after an abortion. For more information, see the topic Reference Rh Sensitization During Pregnancy.
- Screening for Reference sexually transmitted infections (STIs) Opens New Window, if you are at high Reference risk for an STI. This is not a routine test before an abortion but may be done to reduce the risk of complications, such as an infection, after the procedure.
- A Reference Pap smear to check for cervical cell abnormalities (Reference dysplasia Opens New Window), if you are due for one (not a routine test before an abortion).
An Reference ultrasound Opens New Window may be done to check your uterus size and shape and to make sure the pregnancy is in the uterus. A Reference transvaginal ultrasound done in the first Reference trimester Opens New Window is the most accurate method of learning how long you have been pregnant.