Viability: What Does it Mean?
When you discover that you may be pregnant, it is important to determine the viability of the pregnancy before you make any decisions about what to do. Viability means “the ability to survive or live successfully”. There are three things that a licensed sonographer will look for on an ultrasound to determine viability:
- The presence of a gestational sac.
- The presence of a fetal pole.
- Detection of a measurable fetal heartbeat.
The earliest these three things can be detected with current technology is about six weeks after your last menstrual period (LMP).
If you are considering abortion as an option for your pregnancy, you should first make an appointment to determine viability. Approximately 15-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Therefore, if the pregnancy is not viable, the body will end the pregnancy naturally through miscarriage. Because miscarriage is a natural safeguard, a woman’s body has time to adjust it’s hormones and physically adjust to the termination of the pregnancy. If your pregnancy is at risk for a miscarriage, a medical professional will be able to see possible signs and advise you on which symptoms to watch for. As a result, if the pregnancy is not viable, you may not need to rush to have an abortion or the financial expense of one unnecessarily.
Most OBGYN offices will not schedule an appointment to see you until towards the end of the first trimester (10-12 weeks), so finding an early diagnosis and options counseling pregnancy center is important. If you are considering parenting or adoption, it also fives you the ability to start immediate care for a healthy pregnancy.