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Abortion - 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 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 ovaries and fallopian tubes for a possible tubal (ectopic) pregnancy, 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 find out:
  • Screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), if you are at high 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 Pap smear to check for cervical cell abnormalities (dysplasia), if you are due for one (not a routine test before an abortion).

An ultrasound may be done to check your uterus size and shape and to make sure the pregnancy is in the uterus. A transvaginal ultrasound done in the first trimester is the most accurate method of learning how long you have been pregnant.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 05, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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