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 14-15.6 weeks after your last period.
First Trimester Abortion
First trimester abortion is an abortion performed by vacuum aspiration between 5 weeks and 11 weeks + 6 days gestational age.
This procedure is one of the safest medical procedures performed and available today.
The first trimester aspiration abortion procedure generally takes a total of five to ten minutes.
You will receive a prescription strength pain medication and an antibiotic. As well, anti-anxiety and anti-nausea medications are given. Additional pain medication by injection is available for a fee of $50 for 1st trimester abortions. You must have a driver to get these medications. This medication is not available to those patients with opioid addictions or on opiod agonists such as, but not limited to, Suboxone.
Second Trimester Abortion
Second trimester abortion is an abortion performed by vacuum aspiration between 12 weeks and 18 weeks + 0 days gestational age.
This procedure is the safest method available today.
A second trimester abortion procedure generally takes a total of fifteen to forty minutes, depending on gestational age.
You will receive oral medications of a prescription strength pain medication and an antibiotic. You may also receive a medication called Cytotec (misoprostol) to soften the cervix, which will be used buccally or vaginally, as directed. As well, you will receive an injection of pain medication, usually Stadol and Phenergan (this injection is included in the cost of your abortion). This medication is not available to those patients with opiod addictions or on opiod agonists such as, but not limited to, Suboxone.
For those patients 16 weeks and further, Dilapan will also be used to assist in the dilation of the cervix. These appointments will require waiting 4 hours before the actual procedure to allow the medication to work. Although these appointments will make for a long day, the procedure will be done in 1 day as opposed to other clinics which would require yet a 3rd appointment to complete the process. So come prepared to wait!
You must have a driver in order to be seen for a second trimester abortion.
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 exam suite, but may be kept informed of your progress.
We encourage bringing only one person with you to your appointment.
Aspiration 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. A chlamydia test swab will be performed at this time.
- 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, provide your post-op medications, a snack and take home prescriptions for pain medication and birth control method, if selected.
Safety and Risks
- As with any aspiration procedure, there are potential risks and complications that may occur.
- In comparison to other medical procedures, the rate of complications following an abortion is very low. Fewer than 1 in 200 patients have serious complications following this procedure.
- 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.
- 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.
More information is available from the Alan Guttmacher Institute (www.guttmacher.org), the leading reproductive health research institute in the United States.