What is a pre-abortion screening?
After you find out that you’re unexpectedly pregnant, you may be considering an abortion. Whether seeking a medical (also called “chemical” ,”RU486″, “Plan C”, or “missed period pills”) or surgical abortion, it’s important to know a few things about your health and pregnancy as you’re considering your options. This is why Alpha Center in Fort Collins offers pre-abortion screenings. A pre-abortion screening aims to answer a few important questions as you’re making your decision so that you can make an informed decision that is best for you. These questions are: Am I pregnant, is the pregnancy viable, and do I have an STD? Request an appointment today.
1. Am I pregnant?
This one may seem obvious, but in order to have an abortion, you have to actually be pregnant. If a test is taken too early, you have a faulty test, or there are other medical issues present, you may get a faulty result. Our schedulers can help you determine if it’s the right time to take a pregnancy test when you call to schedule an appointment. During a pre-abortion screening, a lab-quality pregnancy test will be administered by one of our nurses, and your results will be ready in minutes.
If you are indeed pregnant, then the appointment’s next goal is to discern whether or not the pregnancy is viable.
2. Is the pregnancy Viable?
Even if a pregnancy test comes back positive, it’s possible that abortion may not be the best option for you. Nearly 1 in 3 pregnancies will not carry to term – and 1-2% of pregnancies are ectopic. To check on the viability and location of the pregnancy, our nurse will perform an ultrasound.
While performing the ultrasound, our nurse will look for the presence of a fetal heartbeat (viability) as well as ensuring that the pregnancy is located in the uterus (ensuring it is not ectopic). If it is found that the pregnancy is not viable or that the nurse is unable to confirm an intrauterine pregnancy, our nurses will provide more information on what steps to take next.
Additionally, it is important to know the gestational age of your pregnancy. Since many people experience irregular periods or do not know when their last period was, nearly half of women inaccurately determine their due date and how far along they are. During your ultrasound at Alpha Center, the nurse will measure the pregnancy to determine gestational age. Depending on the age of the pregnancy, the kind of abortion you would be able to have, as pursuing a medical abortion is generally only available during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Knowing how far along you are does not determine the legality of having an abortion as it is legal up to 40 weeks gestation in Colorado.
3. Do I have an std?
Prior to having an abortion, it’s important to ensure that you are free of any STDs as having having an untreated STD can pose a risk for future pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). According to the National Library of Medicine, “Pelvic infection is the commonest complication of legal abortion. The presence of lower genital tract infections increases the risk of complications…” This can lead to long term pelvic pain and fertility issues. Even if you aren’t having any symptoms, the CDC states that at least 70% of Chlamydia infections aren’t symptomatic, and that women ages 14-24 are the group most affected by the infection.
What are my other options?
At Alpha Center, we believe that an informed decision is the best decision, and we do not profit from your decision. This is why we offer medically accurate information on abortion, as well as information and resources for adoption and parenting as well. During your appointment, we will provide information on all options, though you are free to accept or reject any information.
Do you provide abortions?
As we are a nonprofit clinic (meaning we provide appointments at no cost to our patients), we do not provide nor refer for abortions, nor are referrals needed to obtain an abortion. Because of this, we do not have a financial interest in your pregnancy decision.
Stevenson MM, Radcliffe KW. Preventing pelvic infection after abortion. Int J STD AIDS. 1995;6(5):305-312. doi:10.1177/095646249500600501
Detailed std facts – pelvic inflammatory disease – cdc fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/pid/stdfact-pid-detailed.htm. Published July 22, 2021. Accessed August 2, 2022
Clamydia – CDC Detailed Fact Sheet. https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia-detailed.htm. Last Reviewed April 11, 2023. Accessed August 31, 2023.
Ectopic pregnancy. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372093. Published March 12, 2022. Accessed August 2, 2022.
Dugas C, Slane VH. Miscarriage . National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532992/. Published June 27, 2022. Accessed August 2, 2022.
Clinical Practice Handbook for Safe Abortion. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2014. 1, PRE-ABORTION. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK190097/
Methods for estimating the due date. Committee Opinion No. 700.American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2017;129:e150–4. https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2017/05/methods-for-estimating-the-due-date