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The Abortion Procedure

Women's Community Medical Clinic provides abortion up to 20 weeks. We must refer patients to other facilities if they are between 20 and 24 weeks.

Method of Abortion and Risks

Vacuum Aspiration and Dilation and Evacuation are the methods used in this clinic. These methods are safe and relatively free of complications. Abortion is considered one of the safest medical procedures you can have. To place the risk of abortion in perspective consider this medical fact. The risks of an abortion at any time are less then the risks of a full term pregnancy and delivery. For more information on Risks and Complications of Abortion.

Prior to Surgery

On the day of the procedure you will check into the surgery suite. You will pay at this time if you have not paid already. Your blood pressure will be checked and some blood tests will be done. We will check the iron level in your blood and also check your blood type for the RH factor.

If your blood is RH negative you will need to have an injection of Rhogam following the abortion for which there is an additional charge.

You will then change in a changing room. You can change into a paper gown which we supply or you may bring a robe or nightgown from home. You may also want to bring socks or slippers for extra warmth. You will wait with several other women until you are ready to go into the surgery room.

Once you enter the surgery room, you will lie down on the exam table and be prepared for surgery.

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Anesthesia Local or Deep Sedation

If you are less than 11.5 weeks you may choose to have the abortion with a local anesthesia or you may choose to have the deep sedation anesthesia. Most patients prefer the deep sedation anesthesia because it provides a high degree of comfort during the procedure. You can discuss the pros and cons with your counselor.

If you choose a local anesthesia, after the pelvic exam and cleansing of the vagina, the doctor will inject the cervix with medication in order to numb the area. The medication is similar to the medication used by the dentist to numb your mouth. If you choose the deep sedation, the nurse anesthesist will give the medication to you in the vein of the arm or the hand.You will become very relaxed and sleepy. A combination of drugs will keep you asleep and comfortable during the procedure.

When you are 11.5 weeks or more, you will be scheduled for an appointment the day before the surgery. At this time a doctor or a nurse practitioner will do a pelvic exam and then insert one or more sterile dialators into the cervix. These dialators, also called laminaria, are sterile pieces of seaweed which are about the size of a match stick. The dilators will expand and gently dialate and soften the cervix overnight to prepare the cervix for surgery the next day. This procedure greatly lessens the trauma to the cervix and decreases the risk of injury.

More on Anesthesia

The Procedure

Afer your heart and lungs have been checked, you will be given a pelvic exam and the procedure will begin. The vagina will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution. Any dialators that have been inserted will be removed.

The cervix will be gradually dialated by inserting metal rods-surgical instruments. A plastic hollow tube connected to the vacuum aspirator-a machine-is then inserted and the aspirator gently suctions and emptys the contents of the uterus. Instruments are sometimes used, especially in later abortions, to help remove the uterine contents. The entire procedure generally takes between three to five minutes to perform or a little longer when you are more advanced in the pregnancy.

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Immediately following the procedure, you will be able to walk with assistance across the hall to the recovery room where you will remain for approximately 30 minutes. You still be under the influence of the anesthesia. You may not remember walking to the next room. The nurse will check your blood pressure and how much bleeding is taking place. You will be offered something to eat and drink. You will be discharged after being thoroughly checked.

Ride Home

The after effects of the abortion and the anesthesia may include drowsiness and nausea which make driving unsafe. You must have a ride home. We cannot discharge you until someone arrives in the surgery suite to drive you home. Bring taxi fare if you are unable to arrange a ride home.(A responsible adult must accompany you home).

After the Abortion

You must make a checkup appointment after the abortion to make sure things are getting back to normal. This is very important to follow through and come in for this appointment.

You will be given antibiotics to fight any possible infection. If you are anemic or have low iron in your blood, you will also be given iron supplements. If you are over 11.5 weeks you will also be given a medication called Methergine to help shrink the uterus back to normal.

Your cervix and uterus will take about three weeks to heal following the abortion. To prevent infection, do not take a tub bath, have intercourse, wash the inside of the vagina or douche, or use tampons during this three week period. Do not put anything into the vagina.You will probably experience some light to heavier bleeding, and possibly irregular bleeding for several days and even weeks. Some women pass blood clots and have abdominal cramps which are usually relieved by Tylenol. They is no cause for alarm. But if you have persistent heavy bleeding, steady pain or fever over 100.5° Farenheit you should call the clinic.

The clinic accepts phone calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is a doctor on-call at all times in case there is a problem. If you have any questions about your recovery, do not hesitate to call the clinic any time. It is a good idea to have the number for your pharmacy so that if necessary we can easily call a prescription for medication for you.

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