If your pregnancy test was positive and you are thinking about an abortion, please contact us before you make a final decision. There are many different options and you need to know the facts to make an informed decision. We are here to help you sort through all of your questions and concerns.
Abortion procedures are conducted in two different ways:
-Surgical Abortion Methods
-Medication Abortion Method
There are 4 main types of Surgical abortions used:
Suction Aspiration or Suction Curettage
This procedure is commonly used up to 7 weeks after last menstrual period (LMP)
Suction Aspiration is done early in the pregnancy. After receiving a shot of anesthetic to your cervix to reduce pain, your cervical muscle is stretched with cone-shaped rods until the opening is wide enough to allow the abortion tools to pass into your uterus. The abortion tools consist of a long, thin tube attached to a large syringe. The embryo is suctioned out using a vacuum type of force which pulls the placenta and fetus into parts small enough to pass through the suction tube.
Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
This is the most common abortion procedure used between 4 and 12 weeks. Because the baby is larger, the doctor must first stretch open the cervix using metal rods. Opening the cervix may be painful, so local or general anesthesia is typically needed. In this case, a loop-shaped knife is used to scrape the wall of your uterus. This cuts the fetus and placenta into smaller parts, pulling them out of your body through the cervix. There is a higher risk of perforating your uterus with this procedure. A general anesthesia is usually required.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)
Because the bones of the fetus are larger and stronger by this time, the doctor uses a medical instrument to pull the fetus into smaller parts and removes those parts from your body through the cervix. This procedure requires that your cervix is opened wider than with “Suction” or “D&C” methods, and there is greater risk of harm to your reproductive organs.
Late Term Abortion
Laminaria (a type of seaweed that expands when moist) is used to dilate the cervix over a two-day period. On the third day, the membranes are ruptured. An ultrasound is used to locate the lower extremities. The doctor uses large forceps to grasp the fetus, and pull it down into the vagina. After the body is delivered, the skull is lodged in the cervical opening. The doctor makes an incision in the base of the fetal skull, inserts a suction catheter and empties the contents of the baby’s skull. Damage may occur due to the extensive stretching of the cervix during the procedure.
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms after an abortion:
Severe bleeding can mean:
- Severe bleeding. Both medical and surgical abortions usually cause bleeding that is different from a normal menstrual period.
- Passing clots that are bigger than a golf ball, lasting 2 or more hours.
- Soaking more than 2 large pads in an hour, for 2 hours in a row.
- Bleeding heavily for 12 hours in a row.
- Signs of infection in your whole body, such as headache, muscle aches,dizziness, or a general feeling of illness. Severe infection is possible without fever.
- Severe pain in the abdomen that is not relieved by pain medicine, rest, or heat
- Hot flushes or a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher that lasts longer than 4 hours
- 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
Medication Abortion Procedures
Mifeprex/Mifepristone (RU-486 Abortion Pill)
This drug is FDA- (Food and Drug Administration) approved for women up to 49 days after their last menstrual period. The FDA-approved procedure usually requires three office visits. On the first visit, the woman is given pills to cause the death of the embryo. Two days later, if the abortion has not yet occurred, she is given a second drug which cause cramping that expels the embryo. The last visit typically uses an ultrasound to determine if this procedure has been completed. Risks associated with medication abortion are bleeding, infection, undiagnosed ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, failed abortion, risk of fetal malformations & continuation of pregnancy.
RU486 will not work in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. This is a potentially life-threatening condition in which the embryo lodges outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. If not diagnosed early, the tube may burst, causing internal bleeding and in some cases, the death of the woman.
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Mifepristone Questions & Answers
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Mifeprex Information
This drug is FDA-approved to treat certain cancers and arthritis, but is used “off-label” to treat ectopic pregnancies and to induce abortion. It is used up through 49 days of pregnancy and given orally or by injection. Three to seven days after methotrexate is taken, misoprostol is used vaginally. Side effects of methotrexate include mouth ulcers, low white blood cell count, nausea, abdominal distress, fatigue, chills, fever, dizziness, decreased resistance to infection, and anemia. Other more severe side effects have also been reported, usually after prolonged use.
Source: Physicians’ Desk Reference, Methotrexate
This form of medication abortion uses only the second drug given in the RU-486 method. It is typically inserted vaginally, requires repeated doses, and has a significantly higher failure rate than the RU-486 method. It is associated with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and with potential birth defects in pregnancies that continue.
Source: Physician’s Desk Reference, Misoprostol
This information is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice.
OPTIONS FOR WOMEN | MORRIS does not perform or refer for abortions or arrange adoptions. If you have further questions please visit us for more information about your options.
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