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Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2009 Apr;14(2):97-102. doi: 10.1080/13625180902745130.

Women's perceptions about seeing the ultrasound picture before an abortion.

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Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada.



To gain a better understanding of women's perceptions and experiences of viewing the ultrasound (US) before an abortion.


This mixed-methods study included questionnaires and interviews. Women presenting for medical and surgical abortion at two urban abortion clinics completed questionnaires asking if they wished to view the US image and those women who had done so answered questions about their perceptions. A randomly selected ten women were interviewed six weeks later about their perceptions. The interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and analysed for salient themes.


The 350 participants had a mean age of 27.6 years, 0.68 births, and were at a mean of 49.1 days gestation at the time of the procedure. Most women (254/350, 72.6%) chose to view the US and 179/219 (86.3%) found it a positive experience. Older women and those who had children were less likely to want to view the US image (p = 0.001). All ten interviewees recommended that this choice be offered to every woman and recommended more communication between care providers and patients at the time of the US. None of the women changed her mind about having the abortion after having seen the US.


Offering the choice to view the ultrasound is both feasible and beneficial to women having abortions. Our findings support those of the only other study published on the subject.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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