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Can I Change My Mind After D&E Laminaria Insertion?

A dilation and evacuation (D&E) is an abortion procedure usually used in second trimester abortions. For some women, it is a life-saving procedure when a pregnancy endangers their health. For others, it enables them to live life as they see fit. But for some, it’s a traumatic decision about which they have seriously mixed feelings–especially if they are seeking an abortion because the baby has serious or terminal birth defects.

A D&E usually begins with insertion of laminaria into the cervix. These slowly and steadily dilate the cervix to make the procedure easier and safer. But some women return home after a day at the clinic with second thoughts. You might feel like you need a few more days to think about it. Or perhaps you know you don’t want to go through with the procedure. Rest assured, you can always change your mind. Abortion clinics honor all choices, and will happily remove the laminaria if you so desire. Here’s what you need to know about the process.

Can I Change My Mind After D&E Laminaria Insertion?Can I Change My Mind After Laminaria Insertion?

The laminaria insertion is usually the most difficult part of a D&E because of the slight risk of infection or injury. If you do suffer an infection, this can complicate the pregnancy if you opt to continue, but you can still continue the pregnancy.

A number of small studies have shown that laminaria insertion does increase the risk of pregnancy complications, especially infection of the uterus and preterm delivery. One study found that eight of 12 women who removed laminaria had pregnancy complications. Half had late miscarriages or stillbirths. This suggests that, while it is possible to have a healthy pregnancy, it is not a foregone conclusion. You will need to consult with a high risk obstetrician and a perinatologist if you opt not to go through with the procedure.

What Are My Options if I Change My Mind?

If you change your mind after laminaria insertion, it’s important to contact your provider as soon as possible. An abortion clinic can quickly remove the laminaria, and advise you about the state of your cervix. If you change your mind, you have a few options:

  • You can terminate later. If you need more time, want to choose a different clinic, or just aren’t ready yet, you can terminate later as long as you haven’t reached your state’s legal abortion limit.
  • You can choose an induction termination. Many people terminating for medical reasons want to see and hold the baby. You may be able to induce labor. Ask your abortion clinic for a referral, or talk to your doctor or midwife about your options. A small number of abortion clinics also offer induction terminations.
  • You can choose to continue the pregnancy. There is no guarantee that the baby will survive, and complications are likely, but with the right care, there is a good chance of survival.

Does a D&E Affect Future Pregnancies or Fertility?

If you’re worried that this is your only chance at a pregnancy, know that it is not. Research shows that, while women with a history of late abortions via D&E tend to deliver slightly earlier (38 weeks versus 39 weeks), there are no statistically significant differences between the groups. A healthy pregnancy is still possible.

If you are struggling with your decision to terminate, know that abortion clinics that offer late terminations know how difficult the decision can be. Click here for help to find the right abortion clinic for your needs.

Speak with your OB/Gyn and ask them — Can I Change My Mind After D&E Laminaria Insertion?

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