There are a few different surgical procedures that depend on how far along in pregnancy you are. Here’s a quick overview of those procedures.

Aspiration

between 6-16 weeks gestation

You will be given pain medication, and possibly be sedated, for this procedure, in which you will lie on your back with your feet in stirrups as a speculum opens your vagina and a local anesthetic is applied to your cervix.

When your cervix is dilated enough (and the further along you are, the more preparation is required, which may take a few days), a long plastic tube is inserted and connected to a suction device. The device will be turned on, and your uterus will be emptied.

This will take approximately 10-15 minutes, but expect to be at the clinic for possibly a few hours to recover.

Possible Side Effects & Risks:

  • Cramping

  • Nausea

  • Feeling faint

  • Heavy bleeding

  • Blood clots

  • Damage to the cervix/uterus

  • Infection

Dilation & Evacuation

after 16 weeks gestation

This process will require a bit more preparation ahead of time in order to dilate your cervix for the procedure, which includes an insertion of laminaria of a dilator in your cervix.

Your abortion provider will use a tenaculum to keep the cervix and uterus in place, and rods of increasing size are used to further the dilation process.

Your cervix will then be numbed, and a shot may be given to end the pregnancy. From there, a long tube will be inserted to remove tissue from the lining of your uterus and a curette (similar to a scoop) scrapes away leftover lining.

Forceps may be used to remove larger parts of the baby.

And finally, the abortion provider will use a suction to help empty the uterus before the remains of the baby are examined to ensure all parts have been removed and that the abortion is complete.

The procedure takes between 15 and 30 minutes, but expect side effects to last for possibly two weeks after the procedure is complete.

Possible Side Effects & Risks:

  • Nausea

  • Bleeding

  • Cramping

  • Damage to the cervix/uterus

  • Infection

  • Blood clots

Dilation & Extraction

after 21 weeks gestation

Two days prior to the procedure, laminaria is inserted to dilate the cervix, and your water should break on the third day, which signals when you need to return to the clinic for the abortion.

Your abortion provider will rotate the baby and then use forceps to pull the legs, shoulders and arms out. Then a small incision is made in the baby’s skull to allow a suction removal of cerebral material before the rest of the baby is then removed from the uterus.

Possible Side Effects & Risks:

  • Nausea

  • Bleeding

  • Cramping

  • Damage to the cervix/uterus

  • Infection

  • Blood clots

There is also a risk of increased emotional effects from this procedure due to the pregnancy being more advanced. Consider carefully how an abortion this late into pregnancy will affect all aspects of your health, and ensure you have a support system to care for you, including a primary care doctor who can help monitor your mental health.

Please note that First Choice Health Services does NOT refer for abortions or provide them here in this clinic. However, registered nurses are
more than willing to sit down with you to discuss your pregnancy outcome options, including abortion and the related risks and considerations.