What is an early surgical abortion?
In-clinic abortion procedures also called surgical abortions are safe and effective. Early surgical abortion procedures are provided between 14-16 weeks after your last period.
What are the types of in-clinic abortions?
In-clinic abortion works by using suction to take a pregnancy out of your uterus. There are a couple of kinds of in-clinic abortion procedures. Your doctor or nurse will know which type is right for you, depending on how far you are into your pregnancy.
Suction abortion (also called vacuum aspiration) is the most common type of in-clinic abortion. It uses gentle suction to empty your uterus. It’s usually used until about 14-16 weeks after your last period.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) is another kind of in-clinic abortion procedure. It uses suction and medical tools to empty your uterus. You can get a D&E later in a pregnancy than aspiration abortion — usually if it has been 16 weeks or longer since your last period.
Suction/Vacuum Aspiration Abortion
If you choose a suction abortion, you will go to a room that may look like an operating room or an exam room at a gynecologist’s office. You may have an IV inserted in your arm for sedation. You will lie down on the bed with your feet in footrests or stirrups.
The provider will insert a speculum into your vagina and will give numbing medicine around the cervix. Using small dilators, the provider will open the cervix to allow the suction to pass into the uterus. The suction looks like a thin plastic straw. Using a hand-held aspirator or electric suction, the provider will remove the pregnancy. Most people feel strong cramping during the procedure, but this passes very quickly afterwards.
Once the early surgical abortion procedure is complete, you will go to a recovery area. There, you will be monitored to make sure your pain and bleeding are under control. You may be given a little juice or water to drink and a snack to eat. Once your anesthesia has worn off and you are feeling well, you will leave the clinic.
You can start birth control immediately after the aspiration abortion, including having an IUD or implant inserted, and will be protected the next time you have sex.
How effective are early surgical abortions?
In-clinic abortions are extremely effective. They work more than 99 out of every 100 times. Needing to get a repeat procedure because the abortion didn’t work is really rare.
When can I get an in-clinic abortion?
How late you can get an abortion depends on the laws in your state and what doctor, abortion clinic you go to. It may be harder to find a health care provider who will do an abortion after the 12th week of pregnancy, so it’s best to try to have your abortion as soon as possible.
Why do people choose an in-clinic abortion?
Which kind of abortion you choose all depends on your personal preference and situation. Some people choose in-clinic abortion because they want to to have their procedure done at a health center, with nurses, doctors, and trained support staff there the whole time. (With the abortion pill, you have the abortion at home.)
In-clinic abortions are also much faster than the abortion pill: most in-clinic abortions only take about 5-10 minutes, while a medication abortion may take up to 24 hours to complete.
Your nurse, doctor, or health center counselor can help you decide which kind of abortion is best for you.