What is a surgical abortion? This is the procedure through which a doctor empties the contents of the uterus and in the majority of the cases it takes place in the first 12-14 weeks of pregnancy.

Although this refers to the first trimester, it is also possible to have the procedure in the second trimester, until the 20th week. During the procedure the contents of the uterus are vacuumed.

Preparing for the procedure

Before the abortion of the surgical kind your doctor will perform a full physical exam and also an ultrasound to be sure of the stage of your pregnancy.

Surgical Abortion

Where will the procedure take place?

There are different factors that determine whether you are going to have the abortion at a clinic. These include your physical exam, medical history, lab test and also the stage of the pregnancy.

In the majority of the cases the surgical abortion is done at a clinic until the 14th week, after that you will have to have it at a hospital. In order to be able to do so you will require the reference of a doctor.

The procedure

In the majority of the cases the procedure is done through vacuum aspiration. Most probably you will receive a local anesthetic, but there are some clinics that use general anesthetic.

Before the abortion of the surgical kind a nurse will ask you about your medical history, and you will have an IV tube inserted into your vein. It is possible that through this tube you will receive an agent that reduces the discomfort and helps you relax. It is also possible that you will receive a medication that will make the uterus contract to soften the cervix.

The local anesthetic that has been mentioned is injected into the cervix during the surgical abortion and the doctor will use a speculum to see the cervix. Dilators are used in order to stretch the cervix. Another way to stretch the cervix is to use seaweed that absorbs the moisture and expands, thus stretching the cervix. The stretching needs several hours, and in case you are in the second term, it may take up to 2 days.

Then the doctor inserts a tube into the cervix that is attached to a vacuum machine. Once the tube is inside, the machine is turned on. Once the abortion of the surgical kind is done the doctor will use a curette, that is a spoon shaped instrument to make sure that all the tissue has been removed. The entire procedure takes about 5-10 minutes.

After the procedure

Once the abortion is done, you should spend some time at the clinic, resting, while you are under observation. Once you feel like you are ready to go home, you will get the instructions from your doctor.

Once you are over with the surgical abortion it is likely that you will experience some cramping, bleeding and breast tenderness. Make sure that you have somebody to take you home.

In the following two weeks you shouldn’t be using tampons, bathing, douching, swimming, sexual intercourse or heavy physical exercise.

Although you need some rest after abortion of the surgical kind you could resume with the majority of your daily activities. The majority of the contraceptive methods can be started on the day you had the procedure or the day after it.

Any risks?

Early abortion of this kind is known as the safest procedure. Nonetheless keep in mind that it is a medical procedure, and so it is possible to experience some complications. Only about 1% of women who experienced surgical abortion have serious complications. If this happens most probably you will receive antibiotics therapy or medication. In the same time it is also possible that the vacuum suction will be repeated. Still only rarely it happens that women must have surgery because of the procedure.

Emotional reactions

A lot of women are afraid of the emotional reactions that they might have in case of an abortion of the surgical kind. There are different kinds of feelings that women may have after a procedure of this kind, including sadness, relief, grieving or guilt. Nonetheless you should know that problems rarely occur in case of the women that are comfortable with the decision that they have made.

In order to help you with your decision regarding surgical abortion there are counselors at the clinics and you could use the services of counselors to discuss the feelings that you have after the procedure is done.