If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and are considering an abortion, it’s important to understand the different procedures, how they work, and associated risks of each procedure.
A large portion of abortion procedures involve the abortion pill, which is FDA-approved for up to 10 weeks gestational age. However, many women undergo a surgical abortion due to later gestational age or other factors.
A surgical abortion is done in an abortion facility. Depending on the health provider’s recommendation, whether a few hours to one or two days, a surgical abortion does not require overnight stay at the facility. The whole process, including exam, recovery, can range.
What are the Different Types of Surgical Abortion?
Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
D&C, also called suction aspiration, usually occurs within the first trimester. Including education, exams, and the actual surgery and recovery, it can take up to 5 or 6 hours.
This procedure requires your vagina to be sanitized and dilated. Numbing medication is applied, and a narrow tube is inserted where the pregnancy is removed via suction.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)
Surgeries conducted in the second trimester (14 to 23 weeks and 6 days since your last period) often require a series of visits. According to the UCLA Health Center, each visit requires about 6-8 hours.
During the first visit you are prepped for the procedure, undergo an ultrasound and exam, have your cervix dilated with small dilating sticks called laminaria, and given any necessary pain medication or antibiotics.
On the day of the procedure, you are induced into unconsciousness. During the procedure the doctor will remove the laminaria sticks and, guided by ultrasound, uses suction and gynecological tools to remove the pregnancy.
Are There Any Complications Caused by Surgical Abortion?
Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, complications can vary. If your gestational age is less than 14 weeks, the main risks are:
- Incomplete abortion: this happens to about 35 out of 1,000 women
- heavy bleeding
- damage to the womb, which can affect future infertility according to Cleveland Clinic
- Sepsis: this happens to about 1 out of 1,000 women
- Surgical abortions conducted beyond 14 weeks gestational age also run the risk of requiring an additional procedure due to incomplete abortion, as well as risk of heavy bleeding, infection, and injury to the womb or cervix.
When considering an abortion, having an ultrasound is a wise first step in order to gain as much information as possible.
At Waterleaf Women’s Center, we offer no-cost ultrasounds at our clinic which can verify the age and viability of the pregnancy, as well as the location of the pregnancy.
We are here to provide support and evidence-based education as you learn about your different pregnancy options. Fill out the form on this page or call/text confidentially at 630-360-2256 today to schedule your appointment!