Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Your health care provider or an emergency doctor will want to confirm pregnancy if this has not already been done.
If you have severe pain or heavy vaginal bleeding, IV
lines will be started. Oxygen will be given, and blood tests will be ordered.
The doctor will perform a pelvic exam.
An ultrasound of your
pelvis will probably be ordered to determine where the pregnancy is located. An
ultrasound is a form of imaging using sound waves. Ultrasound is not painful. It is
performed by placing a handheld device, or probe, which is connected to a
television monitor, against the lower abdomen. A more sensitive ultrasound
test is performed using a special probe inside the vagina (birth canal).
If the bleeding is severe or becomes life-threatening, you may be taken immediately to the operating room.
Sometimes the pregnancy has not developed sufficiently to be seen by ultrasound. If the bleeding and pain are not severe, the doctor may recommend you have special blood tests every 2-3 days to monitor the pregnancy until it has grown large enough so that it should be visible. Another ultrasound will likely be performed at that time to make sure the pregnancy is in the uterus and developing normally.