Surgical Abortion Care
Surgical Abortion from 5.0 to 16 weeks
Surgical Abortion from 16.1 – 20.6 weeks (2-day process)
What to expect for my surgical abortion
When you arrive for your scheduled surgical abortion, you will have an ultrasound to verify that the pregnancy is in the uterus and to determine gestational dating.
We will also review your medical history, obtain vital signs such as blood pressure and pulse, and you will have blood work to screen for anemia, determine your blood type, and we may check your pregnancy hormone level (hCG).
If you are in your second trimester, you may be given a medication prior to the procedure called Misoprostol (Cytotec) that you will let dissolve in your cheeks of your mouth for 2-3 hours. This medication makes the procedure safer and more effective by dilating and softening the cervix, and may start to cause some cramping and spotting. Depending on how far along you are, you may also have cervical dilators placed that will help to open the cervix slowly by absorbing the water in your body and expanding.
When you book an appointment with us you may be asked to come in for two appointments, one to place these dilators so they can work overnight, and an appointment for the following morning to have the surgical procedure.
Anesthesia & Pain Management Options
Depending on your eligibility, you may be awake or asleep for the procedure. Anyone who goes to sleep needs to have an escort who will drive them home, and this individual must stay on the property during the entire duration of the visit. If you are awake, a pain medication called lidocaine may be injected into the cervix to help with pain and discomfort. Some patients who are planning to be awake may be eligible for an additional pain medication that may make you feel sleepy and relaxed during the procedure.
The Surgical Abortion Procedure
During the surgical procedure, a speculum is placed in the vagina so that the provider is able to see the cervix. You may have had this done before if you have had a pap smear. The provider will use instruments to dilate the cervix so that the pregnancy can be removed safely. While another member of the healthcare team holds the ultrasound probe to the abdomen, the provider removes the pregnancy from the uterus and ensures that nothing remains.
If you went to sleep, you will start to wake up and will be transported down the hall to the recovery room. In the recovery room, a nurse will take your blood pressure, pulse, and assess your pain, you will be offered a snack, pain medication such as Tylenol or ibuprofen if desired, and you will have an opportunity to get dressed and use the bathroom prior to discharge. If you did not go to sleep, you will be able to drive yourself home.
What to Expect After your Surgical Abortion
You may have cramping and bleeding for a few days to weeks following the procedure. This is normal and you can try a heating pad, Tylenol or ibuprofen over the counter for the pain. You should use pads for the first week and then you may use tampons or a menstrual cup if desired.
- Bleeding is normal after surgery, and varies from woman to woman, and some women continue to bleed for 2-4 weeks after surgery.
- Cramping is normal. You should expect some cramping to last a few days to a week.
- All of these situations are normal, and not cause for concern.
How to Relieve Cramping
- Try one of the following non-prescription medications: Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Naproxen (Aleve) – DO NOT take aspirin products, they may increase bleeding.
- Apply a heating pad or hot water bottle and elevate your legs.
- Sit on your toilet while massaging your lower abdomen downward.
Call our office during normal working hours, if you have a question or concern about the following:
- If you are soaking through more than two overnight pads in two hours.
- If cramping is continuous, getting worse and/or your abdomen gets hard, and is not relieved by following our instructions and taking the recommended medications.
- If your temperature is above 101 degrees.
- If you pass multiple blood clots larger than a golf ball for more than an hour.
- Foul smelling discharge accompanied by lower back pain.
In case of a problem or medical emergency
If you are experiencing a serious or life-threatening emergency, have someone drive you to the closest emergency room.
If you have an URGENT or CONCERNING issue after business hours, call (508) 222-7555 and speak to the answering service. They will have a medical staff member call you back. Please be considerate when calling the staff after normal hours.
Following Your Abortion
- Keep your follow-up examination appointment if you are given one.
- Go for your follow blood work on the day you were instructed to do so.
- Do not insert anything into your vagina for two weeks.
- Do not have vaginal intercourse.
- Do not use tampons.
- Do not douche.
- Do not swim or take baths, showers are fine.
Be careful! You CAN get pregnant after an abortion and before your next period.
At Four Women Health Services we offer GYN Care.