If you are experiencing an unintended pregnancy, abortion might be one option you are considering. Because there are many different types of abortion procedures, and risks associated with each, it’s important to learn about your options and receive the most up-to-date information. Our caring medical team can answer your questions in a non-judgmental manner.
What should I do first?
Your BEST first step, before having an abortion, is to have a pre-abortion screening to answer three important questions:
Am I really pregnant?
Did you know that one in three pregnancies do not carry to term for various reasons? The only way to determine if you are actually pregnant is through a pre-abortion ultrasound exam, which First Step provides at no cost to you, if eligible.
How far along am I?
To determine what type of procedure would be performed, you should know the estimated gestational age. This can be measured through an ultrasound exam performed by our trained medical team.
Could I have an STD?
Find out if you have an STD before going to the abortion clinic, because undiagnosed STDs can spread during a surgical procedure. If you have an STD such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, you are at risk of contracting Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID may increase your risk of future ectopic (tubal) pregnancies and may decrease your ability to get pregnant in the future.
Types of Abortion Procedures
The type of abortion procedure available is determined by how far along you are in your pregnancy. There are two main types of procedures – medical and surgical.
Medical Abortion Procedures
The Abortion Pill (RU-486) – (Within 10 weeks after Last Menstrual Period (LMP)
RU-486, commonly referred to as the Abortion Pill, consists of two pills, Mifepristone and Misoprostol, that work together to end a pregnancy.
The first pill blocks progesterone from the uterine lining, causing the fetus to die. The second medication will cause contractions to expel the fetus. This may occur within a few hours or up to two weeks.
You should have a followup physical exam two weeks later to ensure the procedure was successful and that there are no immediate complications.
Possible Risks & Side Effects:
- Heavy Bleeding
Surgical Abortion Procedures
There are three types of surgical abortion procedures – Suction Aspiration, Dilation & Curettage (D&C) and Dilation and Evacuation (D&E). Each of these procedures must be completed in a medical facility.
Suction Aspiration – (6-12 weeks after LMP)
After the cervix has been injected with a local anesthetic and widened by cone-shaped rods, a long plastic tube connected to a suction device is inserted into the uterus to suction out the fetus and placenta.
Dilation and Curettage (D&C) – (Within 12-21 weeks after LMP)
This procedure is similar to suction aspiration, except that it uses a long, looped shaped knife that scrapes the lining, placenta and fetus away from the uterus. An instrument may then be inserted for final suctioning.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) – (Within 15-21 weeks LMP)
The D&E combines suction aspiration, dilation and curettage, and forceps. For this procedure, a sedative is given, along with an injection into the cervix, while forceps are used to remove larger sections of the fetus. A curette is then used to scrape the lining of the uterus, while suctioning any remnants out of your body.
Possible Risks & Side effects of surgical abortions:
- Cramping, sweating or feeling faint
- Heavy or prolonged bleeding
- Blood clots
- Damage to cervix or uterus
- Psychological issues such as eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse
First Step Women’s Center is here to empower you to make an informed decision regarding your unplanned pregnancy. To schedule your no cost appointment, call (217) 523-0100 or fill out our online contact form.
First Step Women’s Center does not perform or provide referrals for abortion, nor do abortion facilities require a referral from us. You will be free to choose the clinic that best suits your situation based on the information you receive from us.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2009). “Mifeprex Medication Guide.” U.S. Department of Health. Retrieved May 30, 2014 from http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM088643.pdf
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