We offer abortion care up to 22 weeks gestational age (time since last menstrual period). The method of abortion depends on how far along the pregnancy is.
- If you are under 9 weeks (63 days after your last period), you could have a medical abortion (see below)
- After 9 weeks, you must have a surgical abortion (see below). You can also choose to have a surgical abortion instead of a medical abortion if you are less than 9 weeks.
- After 12-16 weeks, it will take more than 1 day (1-3 days depending on how far the pregnancy is) to have the abortion completed.
Both oral and intravenous sedation are available for pain control.
A medical abortion is an option that is available to you if you are 9 weeks along or less. This is done by taking 2 medications. The first, a tablet of mifepristone (also known as the Abortion Pill), is taken in our office. Then 6-72 hours later, at home, you take the next medication, misoprostol. The combination of these two medications causes the pregnancy to be passed from your body. It is important to come back to the office a week or two later so an ultrasound can be done to ensure that the medication worked and the pregnancy is gone.
There are two different types of surgical or suction abortion. You can have a surgical abortion from very early in pregnancy (6 weeks from your last period) up to 22 weeks. The procedure takes approximately 15 minutes to complete but the whole visit will take 1-3 hours. You will be given pain medication and you may need additional time after the procedure to recover. Since an ultrasound is done at the end of the procedure, a follow-up visit is not always necessary. We will do a phone follow-up with you a few days later to make sure you are feeling OK. After 12-16 weeks, we may need to get your cervix (the opening of the uterus) ready for the procedure by using medicine to soften the cervix. This can make the appointment longer or, sometimes when the pregnancy is more advanced, it may take another 1-2 days to prepare your cervix for the procedure.
What to Expect
When you come for your appointment, you will be given some paperwork to fill out regarding your health history. From there, our staff will get you set up in one of our exam rooms, where you will have your ultrasound done. Once we confirm how far along your pregnancy is, we will then discuss your options. If you decide on an abortion and opt for a medical abortion, we will explain the process to you, give you your medications, and schedule a follow-up visit. If you opt for a surgical abortion and decide to use pain medication, you must have someone come with you who can drive you home. If you opt to have IV sedation, you must not eat or drink anything 4 hours prior to your appointment. Since we want to ensure that you have all the information you need and everything is explained to you thoroughly, you should expect to be in our office for approximately 1-3 hours.