Surgical abortions are done up to 13 weeks LMP with a vacuum or suction method. The procedure itself generally takes 3-5 minutes.
The doctor will numb the cervix first, which might be uncomfortable briefly. Next she will gently stretch the cervix open a small amount, enough to insert a smooth, blunt-tipped tube which she will use to suction the lining of the uterus. The crampy part of the procedure lasts a minute or so, and these ‘menstrual cramps’ will get better in 10-20 minutes.
What medications will I be given?
You will be given a pain reliever and an antibiotic. You have a choice of sedation and/or narcotic pain medication if you have a ride home. We also have medication for nausea. Dr. Cousins also recommends that most patients take a medication called Misoprostol
which softens the cervix, making the procedure less painful and safer. The Misoprostol
begins the abortion process and may cause cramping or bleeding. We can give you detailed information about this medication.You cannot leave the office after taking Misoprostol
.Will I bleed or have cramping afterwards?
Probably, although bleeding and cramping vary from woman to woman. Some people don’t bleed much at all, some bleed off and on, and some bleed for the full two weeks. If you have cramping we encourage you to take over the counter pain medication regularly—see the Aftercare Instructions.What if I have been there before?
We are not judgmental if you are returning for another abortion. You will be welcomed warmly and compassionately as always.
No one understands better than we do how easy it is to get pregnant, or how hard it is for some women to prevent unintended pregnancies. Remember, a woman may have 400 opportunities to get pregnant in a lifetime. Even 4 unintended pregnancies is only a 1% failure rate. We can discuss the most effective birth control choices with you if you like.Should I take it easy?
You can probably return to your normal routine tomorrow, although you should avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting if you can. Let us know if you need a note for school or work.How long will pregnancy symptoms last?
Nausea should get better within 24 hours, and breast tenderness within a few days. Please call us if pregnancy symptoms persist.How will I feel emotionally after the abortion?
Can anyone find out about my visit here?
Most women feel relieved and typically a mix of other emotions. How you feel afterwards is mostly determined by how you feel about your decision now and how much support you have. Please be sure you have considered your decision—and your feelings—carefully. If you feel especially uncertain or very upset, please tell us. You may benefit from talking to one of our staff, reading The Pregnancy Options Workbook
, or calling Backline
at 888-493-0092, a talk line about pregnancy. If you need more time to think about your decision, we may be able to re-schedule. We want you to make the best decision you can with as much support as possible.
Please let us know if you are expecting a call as we will not confirm your presence here without your permission. Protecting your confidentiality is very important to us. Ask to see our HIPAA policy on confidentiality.Do you participate in any fetal tissue research?
We have participated in research in the past, but we do not currently have a research program available. We do have other research studies that you might want to participate in.How long will I be waiting?
The wait can vary depending on time of appointment and other factors. Your whole stay is typically about 4 hours but there is usually only one visit required. We encourage you to bring something to do. We have wifi internet access in our office.Do you have picketers?
Obviously we don't have control over whether anti abortion protesters show up. Sometimes they do, and we are sorry that they are so annoying. However, there are rarely more than a few protesters and they cannot come into the parking lot at all. If you have concerns let us know when you make your appointment --we have a few suggestions.