First Trimester Abortion
At Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health we offer first trimester abortions to women 6 to 11.6 weeks into their pregnancy.
In addition to the surgical abortion, a non-surgical option, Medical Abortion (Abortion by Pill) is available to women up to 10 weeks of pregnancy.
All services are outpatient, by appointment only. Please call for available days and times. As of July 1, 2015, Tennessee politicians have imposed a 48 hour waiting period requiring 2 trips to receive abortion services.
First trimester abortion is a surgical abortion performed by vacuum aspiration.
- This procedure is the safest method available today.
- Patients must now make 2 trips, waiting 48 hours between visits.
- Patients should expect to be in the office for three to six hours for each visit. The first visit you will undergo lab tests, an ultrasound, explanation of the procedure, informed consent and supportive counseling. The second visit will include the abortion procedure and a recovery period.
Rh typing is performed in our on-site lab and is included in the fee. If you have proof of blood type on a donor card, military ID or lab report bring those results with you.
Cost: The fee for a first trimester surgical abortion is $585. There is an additional cost of $65 for those patients whose blood type is Rh negative, requiring a Rhogam injection. Due to the required waiting period and two office visits, the fee is split into two payments. The first visit is $180; the second visit is the remaining fee based on the gestational age at the time of this visit. Full payment can be made at the first visit, if preferred.
Time Frame: The first trimester surgical abortion procedure generally takes a total of five to ten minutes.
Medications: Local anesthesia and prescription strength pain medication is used. An anti-anxiety medication and antibiotic are also given. Additional pain medication by injection is available for a fee of $65. You must have a driver to get these medications. This medication is not available to those patients with opiod addictions or on opiod antagonists such as, but not limited to, Suboxone.
During the abortion procedure, a female surgery assistant will assist you and the doctor. You may also request that a counselor accompany you during the procedure.
Friends and family are not allowed in the surgery suite, but may be kept informed of your progress.
We encourage bringing only one person with you to your appointment.
The First Trimester Surgical Abortion Procedure
- The doctor will begin the abortion procedure by performing a pelvic exam. She/he will insert two gloved fingers into the vagina, gently moving the cervix and uterus towards the top of the abdomen, while pressing on the outside of the abdomen with the other hand. The pelvic exam allows the doctor to determine how far along the pregnancy is, and how your uterus is positioned.
- Next, the doctor will insert a speculum into the vagina, opening it so that she/he can view the cervix. She/he will clean the cervix with a Betadine solution, and numb it using Lidocaine.
- She/he will then begin to dilate the cervix using a series of dilators, beginning with a very small one, and working up to one that is about the size of your little finger. Since the cervix is a muscle, you may experience some cramping (similar to menstrual cramps) at this time.
- Once the cervix is dilated, the doctor will insert a hollow plastic tube into the uterus. This tube is attached to the vacuum aspiration machine, which will then be turned on, and the contents of the uterus will be removed by suction. You may feel a tugging or pulling sensation in your abdominal area at this time. Cramping may also occur as the uterus is beginning to contract.
- When the procedure is complete the doctor will remove all of the instruments.
- You will spend a short amount of time in recovery following the abortion. The nursing staff will monitor your condition, review your aftercare instructions with you, and provide you with your post-op medications, a prescription for pain medication and your selected birth control method.
Safety and Risks
As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications that may occur.
In comparison to other surgical procedures, the rate of complications following an abortion is very low. Fewer than 1 in 200 patients have serious complications following this surgery.
In order to minimize the chance of complications, it is very important that you provide us with a complete and accurate medical history, that you follow all of the aftercare instructions we provide you with, and that you have a check-up three weeks after your abortion.
We are committed to safely and completely terminating your pregnancy. If there are problems or complications that arise, we prefer that you call us directly so that we can provide you with the care and treatment necessary to successfully terminate your pregnancy.
As a facility that specializes in abortion care, we are uniquely equipped to diagnose and treat complications that may arise. Should you choose to seek treatment elsewhere, you may incur additional costs and be treated by providers who are less familiar or friendly with abortion care.
A safe, legal, first trimester vacuum aspiration abortion performed by a board certified gynecologist should not affect a woman’s ability to conceive a pregnancy and carry it to term in the future. Statistics are inconclusive concerning women who have multiple (more than three) abortions.
Surgical Abortion Informed Consent [PDF SURGICAL CONSENT FORM]