Do I Need an Ultrasound Before Getting an Abortion in Montana?

An unexpected pregnancy can send anyone into a panic. We know how overwhelming it can be, but don’t let fear make any decisions for you! Make sure you get all the facts on abortion in Montana, so you can make an informed and empowered decision!


In this article, we’re exploring the Montana abortion law and the importance of ultrasounds in your unexpected pregnancy journey!


What are the Abortion Laws in Montana?

Currently, Montana bans abortion once your pregnancy reaches viability[1]–meaning, ​​the stage of pregnancy when a fetus is developed enough that it can survive outside the uterus with medical help. Pregnancies typically reach viability around 24 weeks[2] (or 6 months), but this can vary, from woman to woman.


Ultrasounds aren’t required prior to abortion in Montana. However, if you choose to receive one, the ultrasound technician must offer you the opportunity to view the image of the ultrasound and hear the fetal heartbeat, if possible[3].


If ultrasounds are optional in Montana, why would you want one if you’re thinking about getting an abortion? That’s a great question! Keep reading to find out!


Why Do I Need an Ultrasound?

Ultrasounds provide the insight needed to make an informed and empowered decision for an unexpected pregnancy! They answer three key questions:


How Far Along Am I?

It’s important to know how far along you are in your pregnancy (called your gestational age), because Montana abortion law prohibits abortion beyond viability, as mentioned above. The abortion pill has an even smaller window of about nine weeks[4]. Knowing your gestational age is the first step in creating your unexpected pregnancy plan.


Am I Having a Miscarriage?

An ultrasound diagnoses a miscarriage by detecting a fetal heartbeat (or the lack thereof). If a heartbeat can’t be detected, a miscarriage may have occurred. Some common miscarriage symptoms are:


  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting

  • Cramping in your stomach or lower back

  • A sudden gush of liquid from the vagina

  • Tissue passing from the vagina


About 10 to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage[5]—that’s very common! If you are experiencing a natural miscarriage, abortion is not necessary.


Am I Having an Ectopic Pregnancy?

The placement of your pregnancy is extremely important! A fetus can only develop properly inside the uterus. When the fertilized egg implants somewhere else, such as on an ovary or in the fallopian tube, it becomes an ectopic pregnancy.


An ectopic pregnancy can’t progress normally. The fertilized egg can’t survive and eventually causes the affected area to rupture if left untreated. This leads to life-threatening internal bleeding and requires immediate emergency care.


Early intervention is key to preventing serious complications. A transvaginal ultrasound reveals the exact location of the fertilized egg. Thanks to ultrasounds, ectopic pregnancies are diagnosed much earlier. In fact, 85% of cases are discovered before a rupture happens[6]!


Ectopic pregnancy also eliminates the need for abortion. Once the ectopic pregnancy is confirmed, it’s crucial to contact your doctor immediately to receive treatment.


Free Ultrasounds in Missoula, MT

No matter where you are in your unexpected pregnancy journey, you aren’t alone! Our trained ultrasound technicians are here to provide the support and vital information needed to make an informed decision.


We offer free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, and a safe, compassionate space to explore your pregnancy options.


Don’t wait to get the care you deserve! Give us a call at (406) 549-0406 or schedule your appointment today.


Sources

  1. Montana State Legislature. (2017). 65th Legislature SB0282. Montana Legislature. Retrieved from https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2017/billpdf/SB0282.pdf


  1. Breborowicz, G. H. (2001, January). Limits of fetal viability and its enhancement. PubMed. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11753511/


  1. Montana State Legislature. (2022, September 30). Montana Code Annotated 2021. Montana Legislature. Retrieved from https://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0500/chapter_0200/part_0010/section_0130/0500-0200-0010-0130.html


  1. Medical Abortion: What Is It, Types, Risks & Recovery. Cleveland Clinic. (2021, October 21). Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/21899-medical-abortion


  1. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, October 16). Miscarriage. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pregnancy-loss-miscarriage/symptoms-causes/syc-20354298


  1. Dvash, S., Cuckle, H., Smorgick, N., Vaknin, Z., Padoa, A., & Maymon, R. (2021, April). Increase rate of ruptured tubal ectopic pregnancy during the covid-19 pandemic. European journal of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7968738/