When a woman is going to have second trimester abortion performed, a technique called dilation and evacuation is used. The variation in the procedure from abortion in the first trimester is needed due to the larger size of the fetus.
The process usually lasts from 2 to 3 days that will include preparation for the dilation or opening of the cervix before the actual procedure of abortion.
It will also require the patient to stay at a medical facility for a longer period of time to ensure that there has been no infection and everything has been done safely and cleanly.
Prior to the second trimester abortion, an ultrasound will be conducted to determine the exact number of weeks and the size of the fetus. Twenty four hours before the dilation and evacuation procedure is performed, a cervical dilator will be inserted into the cervix to slowly dilate and open it.
In some cases, the doctor may prescribe Misoprostol, which helps in softening the cervix and making the second trimester abortion much easier and safer.
The other processes involved in the second trimester abortion include:
- A dose of antibiotics will be prescribed in order to minimize the risk for infection.
- A pelvic exam will be conducted, where the doctors insert a speculum into the vagina and will clean this area and the cervix with an antiseptic solution.
- Pain medication is injected in the cervical area, as well as a sedative to reduce patient’s discomfort and pain during the second trimester abortion. In some cases, the procedure is conducted in an operating room and the doctor may prescribe the patient with a general anesthetic to make the patient unconscious.
- The doctor will then grasp the cervix with an instrument to hold it in place.
- A cannula or hollow tube will be inserted into the uterus for the actual second trimester abortion. It is attached to a bottle and a pump providing gentle vacuuming motion to remove excess tissue in the uterus. At this point, the patient may experience slight cramping.
- For pregnancies that are 16 weeks or more, forceps will be inserted to assist with grasping of larger pieces of tissue within the uterus. The second trimester abortion will also require the scraping of the uterine lining for any remaining tissue.
- Suction equipment will also be used for second trimester abortion in order to ensure that no tissue parts have been left behind.
Once the second trimester abortion has been performed, medication will be given to the patient to reduce bleeding, pain, and infection.
After the second trimester abortion, the doctor will perform another ultrasound to ensure that all the tissues have been removed and that the pregnancy has completely ended.
After the procedure, the patient may experience slight bleeding for up to 2 weeks. Cramps and emotional stress are also common side effects of the procedure. The doctor will prescribe lots of rest, and avoiding of strenuous activities to complement medications and complete healing.