Comprehensive analysis of the use of pre-procedure ultrasound for first- and second-trimester abortion

Contraception. 2011 Jan;83(1):30-3. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2010.06.014. Epub 2010 Aug 5.


Background: The use of ultrasound (US) is common in some settings before an abortion procedure. However, its positive effect on the safety or efficacy (ability to complete abortion) of the procedure has not been established. Our aim was to determine whether the use of pre-procedure US improves safety and/or efficacy of the abortion procedure.

Methods: We searched the following databases: Pubmed, Embase, Lilacs and Popline; reference lists of retrieved papers; and Google. We considered any controlled trial comparing women seeking abortion who received pre-procedure US to those who did not. Our outcome measures were efficacy of the abortion, complication rates and side effects.

Results: We did not identify any controlled trials or systematic reviews comparing the use of pre-procedure US to no US prior to abortion.

Conclusions: Ultrasound is widely used in pregnancy to estimate gestational age and to detect any abnormalities of the pregnancy or uterus. The effect of its use among women undergoing abortion is unclear, and only indirect evidence is available.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / methods*
  • Abortion, Induced / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / standards