Understanding Pregnancy Ultrasounds

A pregnancy ultrasound is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images your healthcare providers can view on a computer monitor to give them information about your pregnancy. You might be wondering why a pregnancy ultrasound is necessary if you have not yet made a decision about your unexpected pregnancy. Ultrasound is beneficial because the images provide your medical team with important data, and this knowledge can give you the facts you need to make an informed decision about your pregnancy.

Types of Pregnancy Ultrasounds

Pregnancy ultrasounds include transabdominal, transvaginal, Level 2, 3D, doppler, and fetal echocardiography ultrasounds.

After a positive pregnancy test, you will likely receive:

Transabdominal ultrasound

Gel is placed on your abdomen, and a roller-like device (transducer) is moved over the gel on your abdomen. The transducer picks up soundwaves that produce images onto a computer screen.

Transvaginal ultrasound

A special, smaller transducer probe is lubricated with gel and gently placed into your vagina to obtain images. Transvaginal ultrasound is used primarily in early pregnancy.

Ways a Pregnancy Ultrasound Is Useful

To Determine Pregnancy Viability

Even if you have already decided upon abortion, you will need to know if your pregnancy is viable. A positive pregnancy test result tells you that the hCG pregnancy hormone was detected in your urine. However, it does not mean you have a viable pregnancy.

According to the March of Dimes, as many as half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage: 80% of those occur in the first trimester — or the first twelve weeks. So, after a positive pregnancy test result, you will need to confirm your pregnancy is viable by ultrasound. A viable pregnancy is one that is expected to continue and result in childbirth (if no other steps are taken).

If no fetal heartbeat is detected, you would not need an abortion but would be referred for medical treatment instead.

The location of your pregnancy also impacts viability. If your healthcare provider detects a heartbeat by ultrasound, but the pregnancy is located outside of your uterus (i.e., in the fallopian tube), your pregnancy is also not viable. An ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy implanted in the fallopian tube, is a medical emergency and requires immediate intervention.

The fetal heart rate also impacts the viability of your pregnancy. Research reveals that if an ultrasound detects a very low heart rate, called embryonic bradycardia, the rate of miscarriage is significantly higher. If embryonic bradycardia is identified during your ultrasound appointment, you will likely be asked to return in about a week to repeat the test.

To Determine How Far Along You Are in Your Pregnancy

An ultrasound can accurately measure how many weeks pregnant you are. You can’t count on using only menstrual dates for accuracy because many women experience period-like bleeding while they are pregnant.

If your pregnancy is unexpected, and you are still gathering information about how you will proceed, you will need to know how far along you are because your options will partly depend on that.

To Determine If You Have a Single Pregnancy or Multiple Pregnancy

An ultrasound can also give you a valuable indication that you might be carrying a single or multiple pregnancy.

Get the Answers You Deserve

If you have had a positive home pregnancy test or think you might be pregnant, contact our compassionate team at Willow Womens Center. We provide licensed professional medical care, including pregnancy testing and ultrasounds at no cost to you. Reach out today by calling 608-312-2025 or by using our online scheduler.


When Is an Ultrasound Most Beneficial?
When Is an Ultrasound Most Beneficial

You have just learned you are pregnant. You did not expect it, and you never thought you would be wrestling with such a big decision. Now what? Where do you start looking for resources and accurate, unbiased answers to your questions?

You do not have to navigate this journey alone. Willow Womens Center will help you find the answers to your questions. We will walk with you, one step at a time, amidst the tremendous stress of an unexpected pregnancy. One of those steps will be an ultrasound, provided by our licensed medical professionals at no cost.

What is an Ultrasound?

A pregnancy ultrasound is a safe medical test that creates images on a screen using sound waves. These images supply important facts to help you make informed decisions about an unexpected pregnancy.

Pregnancy ultrasounds can be transabdominal or transvaginal.

  • Transabdominal ultrasound

A transabdominal ultrasound is external. First, the ultrasound technician uses a warm gel that is placed on your abdomen. Then, they move a small handheld ultrasound transducer across the gel on your belly. The transducer painlessly transmits sound waves that create an image on a nearby screen.

  • Transvaginal ultrasound

A transvaginal ultrasound is internal and used most often earlier in pregnancy because it provides more accurate images when the fetus is smallest. When you have a transvaginal ultrasound, the ultrasound technician gently inserts a small tampon-like transducer inserted into your vagina.

The technician can glean the information needed in the same way as a transabdominal ultrasound by viewing images transmitted onto a computer screen.

Your ultrasound images are studied by a physician who will provide a final report. The information you receive from your ultrasound provides invaluable answers to questions that will help guide you as you decide about your unexpected pregnancy.

Why an Ultrasound?

You now know the details of having a pregnancy ultrasound, but why would you need one, especially if you are considering an abortion? We will answer that question next.

An ultrasound determines pregnancy viability, your conception date, gestational age, and if you have a multiple pregnancy.

  • Pregnancy viability

Most likely, you discovered you were pregnant by taking a home pregnancy test. A pregnancy test lets you know that the hCG pregnancy hormone was detected in your urine, but it does not tell you if your pregnancy is viable — or healthy. You can have a positive pregnancy test along with a nonviable pregnancy.

A nonviable pregnancy has no likelihood of surviving. This can happen if the pregnancy has implanted outside of the uterus (i.e., an ectopic pregnancy) or if no fetal heartbeat is detected. Why would you want to know this? Because up to 25% of known pregnancies are nonviable and end in miscarriage, and if your pregnancy is nonviable, it changes the options available to you when your pregnancy is unintended.

To summarize, an ultrasound is an essential follow-up step after you have a positive pregnancy test because a pregnancy test alone does not confirm a viable pregnancy — only an ultrasound will tell you if your pregnancy is viable or not. And this is crucial information to have before making a decision about an unexpected pregnancy.

  • Conception date and gestational age

An ultrasound also determines an accurate date of conception. That means when you became pregnant and informs you about how far along you are in your pregnancy.

If your pregnancy is unexpected, and you are considering abortion, this information is particularly important to have since different options are available to you depending on gestational age (how many weeks pregnant you are). So knowing what stage of pregnancy you are in is critical for you to make an educated decision.

  • Multiple pregnancy

About 1 in every 250 natural pregnancies are with twins; that is information you probably want to have. After a positive pregnancy test, an ultrasound can tell if you have a multiple pregnancy.

Ultrasound Timing

Now that we have looked at what an ultrasound is and why it is essential to follow up your pregnancy test with an ultrasound, we can discuss timing. When is an ultrasound most beneficial?

A pregnancy ultrasound should be performed after it has been six weeks since the first day of your last period. This ensures that your pregnancy is far enough along to provide accurate and valuable information.

If you have an ultrasound less than six weeks after the first day of your last period, it can lead to confusion. Sometimes, even if you have a viable pregnancy, the ultrasound does not detect it before six weeks. When this happens, it can increase your anxiety as it leaves you wondering.

If you are early in your pregnancy and the ultrasound is inconclusive, meaning your healthcare provider cannot determine if the pregnancy is viable or not, you can make an appointment in another week or two for a follow-up ultrasound.

There are several reasons why a viable pregnancy would not be detected on ultrasound:

  • The pregnancy is too early to detect
  • Conception occurred later in your menstrual cycle
  • Mistaken last missed period date
  • Larger abdomen
  • Tipped uterus

The last thing you need right now is to add to your stress by having to face more uncertainty and waiting after an inconclusive ultrasound. So, be sure to schedule your pregnancy ultrasound appointment at least six weeks or longer after the first day of your last period when the ultrasound is most beneficial.

Rest assured that waiting six weeks will not limit your options for an unintended pregnancy in any way. You will still have the same choices available to you, but you will have more accurate information to make your choices with.

Get Reliable Support

Call (608) 312-2025, or make a confidential appointment online with Willow Womens Center today. We understand that you can feel bombarded with information, facts, and conflicting advice when you are facing an unexpected pregnancy.

Our compassionate advocates and licensed medical professionals are available to answer your questions in a judgment-free environment. We are committed to empowering you, so you can feel good about making an informed decision.


The Importance of STI Screening Even If You Don’t Have Any Symptoms

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are something most of us don’t like to think about. But did you know that you could have an STI without feeling any symptoms? Knowledge is empowering. At Willow Womens Center, our licensed medical professionals provide unbiased information to help you make informed decisions about your health.

Stay Informed

Reported cases of STIs have increased each year since 2001. There are approximately 20 million new STI cases reported each year in the United States alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even though 15-24-year-olds only make up 25% of the population that are sexually active, they account for approximately 66% of new infections each year. Many of these infections have symptoms that are hardly noticeable or even symptomless. Because of this, it is important to be tested even if you are not aware of any symptoms.

Why STI Screening?

Here are some reasons why the CDC recommends yearly STI screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea for any woman under 25 who is sexually active.

1. If you are sexually active, nothing is 100% effective against STIs.

  • You might be thinking, “But I am in a monogamous relationship.” You might be, but is your partner? The tough reality is that many people contract STIs thinking they were in mutually monogamous relationships.

  • Or, maybe you are thinking, “We use condoms every time.” It’s true that the correct use of condoms reduces the chances of getting an STI, but this is not failsafe.

2. The majority of STIs don’t have any noticeable symptoms.

It is hard to imagine that you can have an infection without symptoms, but that is exactly how hidden most STIs can be!

  • Chlamydia: Chlamydia is nicknamed the “silent” infection since most people don’t notice any symptoms. Untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, scar tissue in fallopian tubes, infertility, and future ectopic pregnancies (a pregnancy in a blocked fallopian tube). The good news is that chlamydia is completely curable when it is diagnosed and treated with antibiotics.

  • Gonorrhea: Like chlamydia, most people infected with gonorrhea will not experience any symptoms. Untreated, it can put a person at higher risk of getting HIV and other life-threatening infections in addition to the same risks as untreated chlamydia. Gonorrhea is also curable with antibiotics.

3. There can be serious health risks if STIs are left untreated.

If an STI is left undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to more people becoming infected, infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), chronic pain, and cancer.

It is very important for a woman’s health to be tested for STIs before an abortion. If a woman has an abortion with an untreated STI, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, and pain. For this reason, we screen for chlamydia and gonorrhea when a woman is considering abortion.

No-Cost Services Available

You can make an appointment at Willow Womens Center for our no-cost services by giving us a call at 608-312-2025. We understand the important decisions you are facing. We walk with you every step of the way, so you feel empowered to make a confident decision for your health and your future.


Navigating Life After Miscarriage

Miscarriage is when a pregnancy ends unexpectedly before 20 weeks. If you have suffered a miscarriage, you understand the challenges of coping with the rollercoaster of emotions and physical recovery. Miscarriage is emotionally and physically painful. The most important part of navigating life after miscarriage is giving yourself permission to care for yourself so you can heal.

In the aftermath of a miscarriage, you may encounter emotions you have never felt before and are not sure how to handle. Be gentle with yourself. There can be a long healing process ahead of you, and it is your right to take all the time you need to go through every step and comprehend it all.

Well-meaning people may try to explain scientifically what went wrong or what you should do next, but we most want you to understand that what you are experiencing after a miscarriage is all normal.

Understanding the Realities of Miscarriage

During the healing process, it may be helpful to learn more about miscarriage and how it affects you and your body.

  • You are not alone; miscarriage is common.

Miscarriage might be common, but that reality does not make it easy. You are not alone! Research reveals that up to 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and 10 to 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.

  • Miscarriage is NOT your fault.

After a miscarriage, women ask, “Why did this happen?” Women often assign blame to themselves for a pregnancy loss, but you are not to blame. Most miscarriages are caused by a genetic problem in the fetus, which is not your fault. Stress and your past did not cause it either.

Make sure your doctor is aware if you have repeated miscarriages. This could be a sign of a medical problem that your doctor can treat. Even if that were the case in your situation, you are still not to blame.

  • Miscarriage affects you physically and emotionally.

Miscarriage impacts you as a whole, physically and emotionally. Physically, your hormone levels shift suddenly as pregnancy hormones return to pre-pregnancy levels. You may experience bleeding and cramping as your uterus returns to its pre-pregnancy size. Some women also have milk leakage and breast tenderness after a miscarriage.

The emotional effects of miscarriage are a response to hormonal shifts and grief combined. It can feel much like postpartum depression and include crying, anger, and hopelessness. Keep safe, caring and supportive people close who can resist offering trite platitudes that don’t acknowledge your legitimate feelings.  

Grief After Miscarriage

It doesn’t matter how early a miscarriage occurs; it is a loss. In addition to losing a child, you may feel like you have lost hopes and dreams about how you thought your future would look. Grief is a natural response to loss.

There is no “right” way to grieve or a “right” length of time to grieve, so allow yourself to experience whatever emotions you feel.

You may feel any combination of the seven recognized stages of grief, which can occur in any order. So do not be surprised if you feel that you have worked through one grief phase just to have it unexpectedly pop up again later.

Seven stages of grief after miscarriage include:

  • Shock and denial: It is hard to believe the miscarriage happened.  
  • Pain and guilt: You may blame yourself and feel shame even though miscarriage is not your fault.
  • Anger and bargaining: You may feel angry and try to find someone to blame for the miscarriage. Bargaining can include hoping the healthcare provider was wrong about the miscarriage.
  • Depression: You may be isolated and lonely as you process the loss you have experienced. 
  • The upward turn: Your pain, anger, and depression begin to lift. You begin to feel calmer.
  • Reconstruction and working through: You can process the miscarriage and begin to look forward.
  • Acceptance and hope: You have accepted the reality of the miscarriage and begin to feel hope for the future.

Take Time To Heal After Miscarriage

Loss of pregnancy takes a significant toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. It would be best if you took all the time you need to recover. Give yourself the freedom to work through the natural stages of grief and give your body the appropriate time it needs to heal.

Remember, healing from a miscarriage is a process that does not happen quickly and it can be different for each person.

Receive Support From Loved Ones After Miscarriage

It is easy to isolate yourself when you encounter the trauma and grief of a miscarriage, but right now is when you need to rely on the people who love you the most. Separating yourself from friends and family during this time can inhibit your ability to heal and readjust.

The people in your life love you and want to be there for you. They just may not know how to do that well, or what to say. Every woman who has endured a miscarriage can relate to hearing insensitive remarks about what happened. Speak up, and keep your most encouraging family member and trusted friends close by to lean on for support.

Receive Support From Experts After Miscarriage

Sometimes it may be painful or uncomfortable talking to friends and family about a miscarriage, or perhaps you don’t have anyone close enough to confide in. However, you still do not have to carry this burden alone.

Seek guidance from a professional who has extensive experience, so you are not going through this process without a guiding hand. You can also reach out to support groups for women dealing with pregnancy loss, so you can walk through the grief process with someone who is coping with a similar experience.

Your body and your mind go through so much after a miscarriage. It can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to recover all on your own. If you have any pregnancy-related questions or need a referral for counseling services in our area, please reach out to Willow Womens Center at (608) 312-2025. You can also schedule an appointment online. We are here to offer the compassionate support you need to thrive again.


Delavan Pregnancy Services

An Easy Drive from Delavan to Willow Womens Center

The City of Beloit, Wisconsin, is located on the Wisconsin/Illinois state line, just southwest of Delavan. Situated near Interstate 39/90 and the I-43 interchange, the Beloit Welcome Center greets over one million tourists each year. Proud of the strength, beauty, and diversity in their community, Beloit is known for its world-class riverfront, the charming downtown, historic residential neighborhoods, and Beloit College.

Less than half an hour’s drive from Delavan, Wisconsin, 100 miles from downtown Chicago, and 70 miles from Six Flags Great America, Beloit has a population of 36,773 (2017 census), and the greater Beloit area has over 110,000. Originally named New Albany in 1837 by its founder, Caleb Blodgett, it was renamed Beloit a year later and hoped it would be reminiscent of Detroit.

In the 1870s the area had become known for its cigars with more than 100 cigar makers calling it home. Beloit is also famous for the inventions of the speedometer, Korn Kurls, and John Francis Appleby’s twine binder used in the reaping of grain.

No-Cost Pregnancy Services Available

delavan pregnancy services

At Willow Womens Center, we offer residents of Delavan pregnancy services, including pre-abortion screening. This type of screening includes a pregnancy test, ultrasound, and testing for STD/STIs. Pregnancy tests and ultrasounds are administered by a licensed medical staff member. An STI screening is done for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Testing for other STIs is given a referral.

No matter what town you call home – Delavan, Beloit or somewhere in between – if you are dealing with an unexpected pregnancy, Willow Womens Center is here for you. We place a high value on confidentiality, a non-judgmental environment, and advocates and medical staff who are kind and compassionate.

Come for the Services, Information, Support

Pregnancy tests are most accurate when taken between 28 to 31 days after the first day of your last period and detect the hormone known as hCG. Even if you have taken a home test, we encourage you to come in for a no-cost test to confirm your results.

If your test is positive, an ultrasound can tell you how far along your pregnancy is and if it is viable. If the pregnancy develops outside the uterus, it is called an ectopic pregnancy and requires immediate medical care.

Ultrasounds are also part of pre-abortion screening. About 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage during the first three months of pregnancy. If a miscarriage is likely to happen, there is no point in having a procedure you may not need. We provide limited ultrasounds for you at no cost so you have all the relevant data you need to make an informed decision.

We also offer limited screening for STD/STIs, which often are present without any symptoms to alert you. If you have ever had unprotected sex, you could be at risk. If you test positive for an STD/STI, we will either give you a prescription or refer you for treatment. Testing and treating an active STD/STI helps to avoid a chronic and painful experience with pelvic inflammatory disease. This is also provided at no cost to you.

No matter whether you live in Beloit or Delavan, Willow Womens Center pregnancy services are right here for you. Call us to schedule an appointment and let our caring advocates and medical staff guide and support you during this difficult time.