Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some common questions you may have about the different types of abortion procedures performed at the clinic. This should help you decide whether a medical or a suction abortion is right for you.
Q: How much time do I have to make my decision?
A: A medical abortion can be performed up to nine weeks from the last period. A suction abortion can be performed after nine weeks from the last period.
Q: What are the risks of the procedure?
A: For medical abortion, the risks include bleeding, pain, and infection. As few as 1 out of 50 to 1 out of 100 women will need a surgical procedure if the pregnancy is not completely removed. In a suction abortion, risks include bleeding, pain, and infection. One out of 100 women will have a repeat procedure. Medications are given to prevent infection and control pain.
Q: How does the procedure actually take place?
A: In a medical abortion, first the doctor will perform an examination of the vagina using ultrasound. The first medication dose is taken at the doctor’s office. The second dose is taken within 72 hours of the first dose in your own home. A prescription for pain medication is given.
In a suction abortion, an examination with ultrasound is performed. Medications for relaxation and pain are given by mouth or through an IV. Numbing medication is injected. The womb is emptied using a small plastic tube. You will breathe on your own, communicate, and may feel certain aspects of the procedure. You will then be taken into a recovery room until the medications wear off.
Q: What can I expect after the procedure?
A: In a medical abortion and in a suction abortion, you can expect bleeding similar to a period for up to two weeks. Your period may take eight weeks to normalize.
Q: When can I start using birth control?
A: In a medical abortion, you may start using birth control after your first follow up doctor’s appointment. In a suction abortion, an IUD may be placed at the end of the procedure or birth control pills can be started the following day.
Q: Will this affect my ability to have children in the future?
A: For a medical abortion, no studies have shown a problem with having children in the future. For suction abortions, if there are no complications, the procedure will not affect your ability to have children in the future.
Q: When do I have to return to work?
A: For a medical abortion, once the heavy bleeding slows down, which is usually within six hours, and the pain lessens, you may go back to work. In a suction abortion, you may go back to work the day after the procedure.
Q: When should I return to the clinic?
A: After a medical abortion, you should return to the clinic two weeks after the procedure for a repeat ultrasound to be certain that the uterus is clean. In a suction abortion, no follow-up is necessary unless there is a complication.
Q: What are some things I should know following the procedure?
A: After a medical abortion, you can expect nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, and bleeding. These symptoms are normal, but a health care provider should be advised if symptoms are worsening after 48 hours. You should not place anything in your vagina (no tampons, douche or intercourse) for two weeks following a medical or surgical abortion. After any type of abortion, you should contact your physician if you develop fever or if bleeding worsens after 48 hours. Do not use tampons, but sanitary napkins may be used.