Obstetricians first used ultrasound to diagnose an early intrauterine pregnancy in the 1960s and 1970s. Emergency physicians adapted ultrasound for point-of-care use in the 1990s. Ultrasound is a noninvasive diagnostic modality that can quickly confirm an intrauterine pregnancy at the bedside, significantly shortening the emergency department (ED) length of stay for pregnant patients. Point-of-care pelvic ultrasound in the hands of emergency medicine providers yields the highest diagnostic potential in the first trimester period of pregnancy. For this reason, the remainder of the article focus is on ultrasound in first-trimester pregnancy.
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