woman looking at the camera

Before an Abortion

If you think you might be pregnant and are trying to make a pregnancy decision, there are many choices facing you. It can be overwhelming. You might be considering options such as abortion that you have not previously thought about. At our center, we are here to help you weigh those options and offer you the support you might need. There are some important things to think about if you are considering abortion and we are here to help you regardless of your situation.

Before having an abortion, it is important to have your pregnancy confirmed. There are many reasons that you could have missed your period or that you are experiencing other symptoms of pregnancy. Taking a pregnancy test is a good first step. Visit us at our center or contact us at your convenience and you will be able to schedule an appointment. During your appointment, we will perform a pregnancy test for you, help you with any questions you might have, and support you as you move forward. 

If you have had a positive pregnancy test, it is important to have an ultrasound  to confirm your pregnancy and give you important information you need before you make a pregnancy decision. An ultrasound will provide information such as, if your pregnancy is viable (a living baby with heartbeat), the gestational age of your pregnancy, and if the  pregnancy is growing inside your uterus. All of this information affects the choices available to you.

Contact us today. We would be glad to talk with you about your options and schedule your ultrasound. Everything at our center is confidential so your privacy will never be compromised. 

 

The Abortion Pill, Medication Abortion, RU-486,, Medical Abortion, Chemical Abortion[1]

Medication Abortion (First Trimester – Available up to 11 Weeks LMP, 12+ weeks in some locations)

The abortion pill goes by many names, including medication abortion, early medical abortion, RU-486, Mifeprex (Mifepristone) and Misoprostol. Women who had their last period within the past 11 weeks (77 days) may choose to terminate a pregnancy through chemical abortion. When used beyond the first trimester, laminaria (small rods) may be used to dilate the cervix.

Note: Mifepristone is approved by the FDA for use up to 10 weeks after your last menstrual period, but abortion providers may choose to offer the procedure later than that. Misoprostol has not been approved for use in pregnancy.

A chemical abortion, often referred to as the abortion pill, typically requires taking two drugs; the most common drugs used are mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone lowers  progesterone to unsafe levels in pregnancy. Progesterone is a hormone that plays an important role in sustaining a pregnancy and in a baby's development. In a chemical abortion, mifepristone is followed by misoprostol, which brings on labor-like symptoms such as severe cramping and bleeding. When and how these medications are administered may vary based on the laws in your area, and the procedures of the clinic you choose. Women who choose chemical abortion are sometimes responsible for self-managing some (or all) of the procedure, so it’s important to gather as much information as possible as you make a decision about your pregnancy.

In order to make sure you’re safe, here are a few things you can do ahead of time:

  1. Make sure that you are pregnant. Have you had a pregnancy test yet? If so, have you had an ultrasound? Some women seek abortion unnecessarily before confirming they are pregnant. Since a medication abortion will not end a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, your life could be in danger if you do not confirm that you are pregnant with an ultrasound.

If you’re not sure whether you are pregnant, we offer free pregnancy testing.

  1. Know how far along you are. Always ask for a doctor or other qualified medical professional (registered nurse or sonographer) to do an ultrasound to make sure you’re pregnant and within the 10 weeks the FDA requires. 

            Not sure where to get an ultrasound? Call us today. We can help.

  1. Learn about the procedure. Ask the abortion provider what their procedure is for chemical abortion.

            Our center can offer education about abortion.

  1. Know your options. Making an abortion decision is not easy, and you do have alternatives. Educating yourself on all options is empowering.

Whenever you need us, we can help.

  1. Stay Safe. Seek medical attention after an abortion if you have any of these symptoms:
  • Heavy bleeding — soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours
  • Severe abdominal or back pain
  • Fever lasting more than 24 hours
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  1. If you’ve already experienced a chemical abortion, contact us for support resources.

If you have recently taken the abortion pill, it may be possible to undo the effects of abortion drugs. Learn more here.

Surgical Abortion (Aspiration Abortion, Dilation & Evacuation Abortion)

This is a surgical procedure to remove the fetus from the uterus through the vagina. The procedure is typically done using suction or an instrument called a curet. Different processes are used depending on the gestational age of your pregnancy. If you are unsure how far along you are, contact us for a free ultrasound to confirm your dates. 

The type of surgical abortion you have will depend on how far along you are. Suction abortion (also called vacuum aspiration) is the most common. Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) is another kind of in-clinic abortion procedure often used for pregnancies beyond 16 weeks.

Here are some steps typical to a surgical abortion:

  • Depending on how far along you are, dilators (rods) might be used to open the cervix prior to the abortion.
  • You will be on the exam table in the same position used for a pelvic exam, with your feet on stirrups while lying on your back.
  • The abortion provider will insert a speculum into the vagina.
  • The vagina and cervix will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution.
  • A numbing medicine (local anesthetic) will often be injected in the cervix.
  • Sometimes other medicines for pain or sedation will be given by mouth or through a vein.
  • The abortion provider will grasp the cervix with an instrument to hold the uterus in place.
  • Your cervix will then be opened (dilated) with a small instrument.
  • A tube (cannula) will be inserted into the cervical canal, and suction will be used to remove the baby and pregnancy tissue from the uterus. During this process, the uterus will contract which will cause cramping. Some women also may have nausea or sweating or feel faint.
  • Sometimes a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure is needed after a vacuum aspiration if all of the tissue has not been removed. D&C uses a sharp surgical instrument to clear tissue from the uterus.

In order to make sure you’re safe, here are a few things you can do ahead of time:

  1. Make sure that you are pregnant. Have you had a pregnancy test yet? If so, have you had an ultrasound? Some women seek abortion unnecessarily before finding out that they are pregnant.
  2. Know how far along you are. Always ask for a doctor or other qualified medical professional (registered nurse or sonographer) to provide an ultrasound to confirm your dates.

Not sure where to get an ultrasound? Call us today. We can help.

3.    Learn about the procedure. Ask the abortion provider what procedure will be used for your abortion. You can ask as many questions as needed to understand the process.

Our center can offer education about abortion. Please contact us today for an appointment.

  1. Know your options. Making an abortion decision is not easy, and you do have alternatives. Educating yourself on all options is empowering.
  2. Stay Safe. Seek medical attention after an abortion if you have any of these symptoms:
  • Heavy bleeding - soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours
  • Signs of infection such as headache, muscle aches, dizziness, or a general feeling of illness. Severe infection is possible without fever.
  • Severe pain in the abdomen
  • Hot flushes or a fever
  • Vomiting lasting more than 4 to 6 hours
  • Sudden abdominal swelling or rapid heart rate
  • Vaginal discharge that has increased in amount or smells bad
  • Pain, swelling, or redness in the genital area
  • Bleeding lasting longer than 2 weeks
  • New, unexplained symptoms
  • No menstrual period within 6 weeks
  • Signs and symptoms of depression.

Whenever you need us, we can help.

 

 

Next Steps

If you are thinking about your pregnancy decision, you are not alone. There are many options available to you. At our center we are here to talk with you about any choices you would like to discuss including abortion, adoption, or parenting. As with any medical procedure, it is important to understand what the abortion entails, side effects, possible risks, complications, and alternatives. If you are ready to talk to someone about your situation, contact us and we can provide you with confidential help.

[1] Medical Abortion. Mayo Clinic Website: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/medical-abortion/about/pac-20394687. Published May 14, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2021.

[2] Questions and Answers on Mifeprex. FDA 
 Website: 
https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/questions-and-answers-mifeprex Last Modified April 13, 2021. Retrieved December 13, 2021

[3] Abortion (Termination of Pregnancy). Harvard University Website: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tw1078   Published January 2019. Retrieved December 13, 2021.

[4]Dilation and curettage. Mayo Clinic Website: https://www.mottchildren.org/health-library/tw2462 Last Modified October 8, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2021.

[5] Tufa TH, Prager S, Lavelanet AF, Kim C. Drugs used to induce fetal demise prior to abortion: a systematic review. Contracept X. 2020 Nov 9;2:100046. doi: 10.1016/j.conx.2020.100046. PMID: 33294839; PMCID: PMC7689273. 
 Website: 
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33294839/ Retrieved December 13, 2021.

[6] Dilation and evacuation at ≥20 weeks: comparison of operative techniques 
 Website: 
https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(03)02176-8/fulltext Retrieved December 13, 2021.